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MacStadium’s VMWare virtualization replacement now available at AWS

Reflecting the growing popularity of the Mac platform, Mac cloud and SaaS provider MacStadium’s Orka Platform is now available to purchase at the AWS Marketplace, a move that brings Orka to Amazon EC2 Mac instances.

Mac my devs up

Orka Workspace is a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution that delivers Mac desktops through the browser. Making this available via AWS should be a big boost to Mac teams that already use hyperscale cloud providers for non-Mac development.

It follows VMware’s decision to abandon support of Mac in its popular vSphere virtualization environment.

The technology provides a software layer that eliminates demanding manual configuration and maintenance on repetitive processes.

This could be of particular use to enterprise developers attempting to build support for Macs through their own proprietary business systems, given the rapid evolution of Macs-in-enterprise use.

It means they can access as much Mac power as they need to accelerate tasks, without making huge investments in on-premises hardware that may spend the majority of its time unused.

What is Orka Platform?

Orka Platform enables enterprise-grade Mac development in virtualized environments. To achieve this, it uses Kubernetes to create a scalable macOS solution that lets developers access virtual Macs as they need them.

It can scale to handle anything from Xcode builds to fully integrated and complex CI/CD pipelines. The solution can handle Continuous Integration (CI) build runners such as GitHub Actions, Jenkins, GitLab, TeamCity and others.

With more than 10 years’ experience in Macs and servers, MacStadium also provides expert support for Orka Platform users.

Features include:

  • Virtual Macs managed through a CLI or API systems.
  • Seamless automated CI/CD pipelines that connect to the most popular devops tools.
  • Enterprise grade, highly scalable performance.
  • Easy orchestration through Orka Platform’s RESTful API.
  • macOS orchestration and life cycle management in a cloud environment on genuine Apple hardware.

“Orka Platform on AWS streamlines the iOS developers’ build efforts while delivering a seamless buying and billing process,” said Tom Schnell, MacStadium senior vice president and chief customer officer.

Life after vSphere

Orka is of particular significance in light of VMware’s recent decision to abandon support for Mac platforms. At this time, VMware’s vSphere ESXi 7.0.x is the last release of the popular virtualization platform that would support Macs.

That’s left developers casting around for a replacement, with MacStadium evidently intending for Orka to be that replacement.

Earlier this month, the company announced a transition path from VMWare to Orka that replicates VMWare images to Orka. “Orka Platform represents the perfect tool for application development teams who rely on using virtualized Mac compute and must now move on from VMware,” said Greg McGraw, MacStadium co-founder and CEO on the release of the transition path. “MacStadium already has helped leading organizations seamlessly transition to Orka Platform from VMware.”

MacStadium’s decision to work with AWS to get Orka Workspace out to the developer community seems shrewd. AWS is already a go-to service for many developers, and the Amazon-owned service is proving its worth; one Forrester report estimates that it helps developers save significant amounts of time and money.

The fast-changing enterprise ecosystem

Both AWS and MacStadium now offer Macs as a service with both Intel and Apple Silicon-based Mac minis available in the cloud.

While backwards compatibility with older Mac operating systems such as Mojave and Monterey require the use of Intel Macs, this is changing rapidly since the debut of M1 (and now, M2) Macs, as the replacement cycle is accelerating.

MacStadium recently confirmed it intends offering hosted M2 Mac mini instances through its service, with Amazon unlikely to be far behind.

I’ve never been more optimistic for the Mac platform,” Chris Chapman, MacStadium’s CTO, told me recently. “They are becoming the de facto standard for laptop, desktop, and phone and you’re really starting to see it become pervasive.”

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Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.


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