Hi All,  Thanks for all of the questions and posts on all of the websites..

I would like to answer some of the questions posted.

Q. How fast are the hard drives

A. These machines all have SSD’s, so they are pretty fast.


Q. Why on earth would you build this?  There are easier and cheaper ways to get this density.

A. The company I work for requires large numbers of machines to build and test the software products we make, these products support Windows, Linux and Mac so we have data centers with thousands of machines configured with all 3 OS’s running constant build and test operations 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This is just a small look at the Mac side of things.

Q. There are virtualization solutions that you could configure to run OS X “Hackintosh” why not just do that?

A. There were plenty of discussions of Virtual environments and other “Bare Motherboard”/Google Datacenter-type solutions, but the simple fact is, the Apple EULA requires that Mac OS X run on Apple Hardware, since we are a software company we adhere to these rules without exception.

Q. Why Mac OS X? Linux is free..

A. We require Mac OS X because the products we make run on OS X and we believe in testing on the same hardware our customers use, this helps produce a better product.

Q. How do you get all of those machines to run as a single server, what is one fails?

A. These machines aren’t servers, they serve nothing, they are treated as individual machines.  They are all managed and allocated by specialized “Cluster” software that allows us to run our Build and Test functions. As for device failure, we treat these machines like pixels in a very large display, if a few fail, it’s ok, the management software disables them until we can switch them out. This approach allows us to continue our operations regardless of machine failures.

Q. Have you tried to mount them vertically?

A. I tried the vertical approach, but manufacturing the required plenum to keep the air clean to the rear machines cost too much for this project, but it’s not off the table for the next rack



Please keep the questions coming 🙂


5 thoughts on “

  1. Kenny Roody

    Thank you so much for continuing to keep everyone in the loop, it looks like at least 100k people are interested in your projects. I’m sure that you cannot give us information on the software nor company. May I ask then, what does the software do? Are you actively testing builds of the software throughout the cluster or is it more about the build process itself?

  2. omegatotal

    I am interested in how long you keep the hardware around and what you do with the old hardware when and if you toss it?

  3. Gavin Reid

    You mention that you investigated Virtual Machines, did you also investigate using the Mac Mini as the Host? I’ve seen some articles recently that indicate that this is feasible.

    This might provide you the greater scope for your testing, so while you might have 160 Mac Mini Nodes, you might be able to expand this out to give you 160 x 4 Mac instances.

    Kinda depends on the stress your application puts on the system. 1 Core and 4 Gigs of Ram might suffice.

    I’ll personally be investigating this on my own Mac Mini 2012 Server.

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