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How Ampere Is Improving Nightly Arm64 Builds — SitePoint

Just before KubeCon NA 2023, in Chicago, the CNCF announced a new project to help CNCF projects create arm64/ Ampere runners to make their nightly native arm64 builds more secure, more efficiently use resources, and be much faster. 

The problem was three-fold. According to the GitHub documentation, running GitHub Self-hosted Runners for an open source project is unsafe, due to side effects that can be left over after the build. And while this, in and of itself, is enough for the CNCF Projects to need a better way to do their nightly builds, the builds were often over-provisioned, thus wasting community resources, as well as being poorly configured. Thus, the Project builds took too long to be completed within the 6-hour window. 

The CNCF, Ampere Computing (the arm64 server chip maker), and Equinix (the hosting company) reached out to OpenFaaS, the creator of Actuated, to see what could be done. Eight projects were initially chosen for the first round of the project. 

Two months into the project, Dave Neary Director of Developer Relations at Ampere Computing, sat down with Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of the Linux Foundation, Ed Vielmetti, Developer Partner Manager for Open Source at Equinix, and Alex Ellis, CEO of OpenFaaS, to discuss the project, why it was created, what was done, and how it is running.

Here are some of the results of the projects Dave Neary posted in Ampere arm64 server community and discussed by the team:

  • OpenTelemetry has added Arm64 support and Arm64 CI builds
  • Through its use of Actuated, up to five etcd contributors can now focus their time and energy elsewhere
  • The pilot has so far run over 70,000 minutes of CI tasks on Ampere servers hosted by Equinix
  • Numerous improvements in reporting have enabled projects to right-size VMs for their needs, manage a “thundering herd” problem caused by a weekly Dependabot run, and report quickly when build times change significantly to catch issues in the build process
  • Key building blocks of the container ecosystem (container runtimes runc, cri-o, and containerd) now have a more secure software supply chain

Watch the video for more details on this innovative project.

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