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Anka Private Clouds for iOS CI and DevOps

Anka

If you haven’t heard, we are partnering with Veertu to combine MacStadium infrastructure with Anka virtualization. Anka is a powerful and easy-to-use virtualization engine for continuous integration on macOS, and it provides an alternative to our traditional VMware private clouds.

Up until now, MacStadium hosted private clouds have always been built on VMware. VMware is an established, trusted solution that has (and will be) around forever and provides enterprise/service provider-class technical support and escalations. VMware is infinitely scalable with dedicated SAN and thousands of hosts, and Instant Clones in VMware in 6.7 claim to give even faster VM performance.

VMware sounds great, so why Anka? If you don’t know or want to learn anything about VMware, Anka is a great alternative. It’s super-easy to setup and comes with excellent documentation. Anka is built on Mac, so it works on all Mac hardware and all versions of macOS. Anka is custom-built to work as part of a CI workflow and easily integrates with existing container-based DevOps CI pipelines. This includes features like Instant Boot and an image management registry that makes it easy to manage multiple VM templates. This eliminates the need to have shared storage infrastructure when you have more than one machine.

Both systems provide virtualization on Mac hardware. Both have REST APIs and are fully automate-able. VMware “Instant Clones” are very similar to Anka “Instant Start/Fast boot” VMs. Costs become comparable once licensing and hardware requirements are taken into consideration. Absolute performance will ultimately depend on your workloads, but that’s where our Sales Engineers can help.

Great, so how do I decide what’s best for me? There are a few trade-offs. In a nutshell, pick:

Anka if…

  • You want to simplify management of a library of VM images/templates 

  • You don’t know/don’t want to learn anything about VMware 

  • You need to be immediately compatible with new macOS releases 

  • You want to use hardware other than the Mac Pro - like Mac mini or iMac Pro 

  • You can get behind “new tech” from a longevity/security perspective
  • You’re interested in adding “Anka Flow” to bring cloud VMs to your local machine 

  • You prefer the simplicity of using internal SSDs vs. SAN

VMware if…

  • You need something established with almost guaranteed longevity
  • You need more developed support for plugins/API integrations
  • You need something with a track record of well-documented security and compliance
  • You already know something about VMware (or are willing to learn) 

  • You'll take advantage of DRS and Instant Clone features to reduce resource usage
  • You’re okay with waiting for new macOS releases to be debugged/supported and waiting for new Mac hardware to make it onto the VMware HCL (e.g., only Mac Pros are available for now).
  • You want/need security features like encrypted storage at rest, VM encryption for secure key storage, or virtual E/W firewalls for VM isolation/micro-segmentation.

Our sales engineers are always available to answer any questions and help decide which system would work best with your individual use case. If you are interested in trying Anka, our private beta is open now. Visit https://www.macstadium.com/anka to sign up.