Why better developer hardware is an investment in our team
What hardware should you give a developer? The answer is, it depends. Below is an overview of what we’ve invested in and why it’s important to us.
At Judopay, we’re really into big, fast data. Our platform handles tens of thousands of requests per second and from each request an additional 1000+ events are generated, all of which need to processed in real time – no lambda architecture here, we’re really drinking from the firehose.
This means we need to be very conscious of scalability and performance throughout our development process and, in fact, it plays a part in TDD, writing tests that ensure we are handling scenarios under huge load as part of our CI/CD pipeline. This is great and it keeps us honest; we are able to stress test everything as we build and validate design decisions early in the development cycle. The downside is that it puts stress on our developer hardware.
We use commodity hardware in production and rely upon horizontal scaling to manage increasing loads, which are also very variable. This works really well for us, our production costs are extremely low but we retain a huge amount of flexibility. However, this model works less well in development: commodity hardware tends to slow down the development process as compilations lags, unit tests take more time to run and developers spend quite a lot of time waiting for their hardware to catch up with their thought process.
‘At Judopay, we want our development hardware to keep up with our developers, so we refresh the machines every 2 years, and build our machines so they will easily handle whatever tasks we throw at them for that period.’
Keyboards and mice preferences differ from developer to developer, so I won’t list them here – you spend all day typing so it’s important that you get the keyboard you’re most comfortable with. Monitors are the next thing for us to invest in. Currently, all our developers have 2x 24″ Dell UltraSharp U2412M Monitor, IPS Panel, 1920×1200, 8ms, 300cd/m², D-Sub/DP/DVI, Black. These are OK but could easily be expanded and we’re currently evaluating whether to add a 27inch 2.5K or 32inch 4K monitor to each machine. We’re leaning towards the 27inch 2.5K as our tests have shown it performs better at native resolution for normal development – we’re just using IDEs, not rendering 3D graphics.
We do have laptops, mostly MacBook Pros; the top spec 15inch model with maxed CPU, the standard 512GB PCIe SSD is more than enough for our purposes. We also have a couple of Dell XPS 13inch laptops for Windows users, with an i7-7560U CPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD. Mostly the developers opt for a desktop in order to get maximum power for the money.
Here is an overview of the specs we use:
Case: Corsair 330R Carbide Gaming Case
Motherboard: Asus 3XS X99-A II
CPU: Intel i7 6800K Broadwell Extreme Unlocked (3.4GHz overclocked to 4.0GHz)
RAM: 32GB (4x8GB) Corsair DDR4 Vengeance LPX, 2666MHz
GPU: PNY NVIDIA QUADRO P400 2GB (3x MDP to DP) / PNY NVIDIA QUADRO P1000 4GB (4x MDP to DP)
SSD – PCIe: 250GB Samsung 960 Evo, V-NAND, M.2 PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.1, 3200MB/s Read, 1500MB/s Write, 330K/300K IOPS
HDD: 2TB Seagate ST2000DM006 BarraCuda, 3.5″ HDD, SATA III – 6Gb/s, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache, 9.5ms
PSU: 3XS Only RMX650 650W 80PLUS Gold Fully-Modular PSU
In terms of performance, the above spec – compared with our old i5 4 core CPUs running with a Sata III SSD and 16Gb RAM – is giving us a 25% drop in the time it takes to open Visual Studio, and 48% drop in build times. Our developers are happy, they have machines that can keep up with their workload, the company gains from more productive developers, everyone wins. I hope this proves useful for anyone thinking about renewing / upgrading their office hardware.
About Judopay · Judopay simplifies in-app payments, enable frictionless checkouts and intelligently prevents fraud for leading companies globally. Our payments and mobile experts help guide businesses and their development partners to create best in class apps to make paying faster, easier and more secure. Founded by serial financial technology entrepreneurs in 2012, Judopay is backed by leading venture investors and supported by banking and card scheme partners to offer in-app payments that are simple, frictionless and protected.