Building Docker Containers up to 20 Times Faster: An Overview of Depot
Are you tired of waiting for slow Docker container builds? Do you want a faster and more efficient way to build Docker images? Look no further than Depot, a remote container build service that can build Docker containers up to 20 times faster than traditional CI providers. In this article, we will explore the story behind Depot, the features that make it stand out, and the benefits it can offer to your development workflow.
Who Are the Founders of Depot?
Depot was founded in 2022 by Kyle Galbraith and Jacob Gillespie. Kyle is the Co-Founder & CEO of Depot. He and Jacob built Depot after being faced with the same challenges time and time again surrounding slow CI builds across all generic providers. He is originally from Portland, Oregon but relocated to Montpellier, France in October 2022 to immerse himself in French culture with his wife who is originally from the area. Jacob Gillespie is the Cofounder and CTO of Depot. He is a US expat living in the UK.
What Is Depot?
Depot is a remote container build service that can build Docker containers up to 20 times faster than traditional CI providers. It uses managed VMs running BuildKit, the backing build engine for Docker, to build containers faster and more efficiently. Each VM includes 4 CPUs, 8GB of memory, and a persistent 50GB SSD cache disk. Depot launches both native Intel and Arm machines on AWS, allowing you to build native multi-platform or Arm images without any slow emulation.
Why Are Traditional CI Providers Slow?
Building Docker images in traditional CI providers like GitHub Actions, CircleCI, etc., is slow for several reasons:
Saving and loading layer cache is slow. Transferring the cache over the network to the ephemeral CI runners eats away at any cache time savings.
Runner resources are constrained, with limited CPUs, RAM, and disk space.
Multi-platform and Arm builds require emulation. Emulation is orders of magnitude slower than native, and Arm is increasingly important with the rise of popularity with devices like MacBook M1, Graviton, etc.
What Makes Depot Stand Out?
Depot stands out because it provides a faster and more efficient way to build Docker images. Here are some of the features that make Depot stand out:
Faster builds: Depot can build Docker containers up to 20 times faster than traditional CI providers, saving you time and increasing your productivity.
Managed VMs: Depot uses managed VMs running BuildKit, the backing build engine for Docker. Each VM includes 4 CPUs, 8GB of memory, and a persistent 50GB SSD cache disk.
Native Intel and Arm machines: Depot launches both native Intel and Arm machines on AWS, allowing you to build native multi-platform or Arm images without any slow emulation.
Drop-in replacement for docker build: Depot's CLI is a drop-in replacement for docker build as they embed Docker buildx directly as a library. Anything you can build with Docker today, you can build with Depot on our remote VMs.
Who Uses Depot?
Several companies, including PostHog, Better Stack, Appsmith, and Novu, use Depot to save tens of hours of build time every day. PostHog’s Docker builds run around 5x faster with Depot, reducing daily time spent on builds from 5+ hours to just an hour. Depot continuously benchmarks several open-source projects, comparing docker build and depot build, including:
Temporal (~14.5x faster, saving 7 hours over the last 10 builds)
Supabase (~8.5x faster, saving 2 hours over the last 10 builds)
What Are the Benefits of Using Depot?
Depot offers several benefits to companies looking to speed up their Docker container builds. Some of these benefits include:
Faster Build Times: Depot processes Docker container builds up to 20 times faster than traditional CI providers. This means that companies can save hours of build time every day, which allows them to focus on other aspects of their business.
Native Multi-Platform and Arm Builds: Depot allows you to build native multi-platform or Arm images without any slow emulation. This is important with the increasing popularity of devices like MacBook M1 and Graviton, which use Arm architecture.
Easy Integration: Depot's CLI is a drop-in replacement for docker build as it embeds Docker buildx directly as a library. This makes it easy for companies to integrate Depot into their existing Docker workflows without having to learn a new tool.
Customizable VMs: Depot provides managed VMs running BuildKit, with 4 CPUs, 8GB of memory, and a persistent 50GB SSD cache disk. Companies can choose to have their builder VMs launch in Depot's AWS account or their own if they want to maintain total control over their data.
Cost Savings: By using Depot, companies can save money on infrastructure costs. Depot's pricing model is based on a pay-as-you-go model, so companies only pay for the resources they use. This can help companies save money on expensive CI infrastructure.
How Does Depot Compare to Other CI Providers?
Depot is a remote container build service that is 3-14x faster than building Docker images inside of generic CI providers. It's much faster than existing solutions like GitHub Actions because they run BuildKit the right way with a persistent SSD cache. This allows for faster builds and more efficient use of resources.
In addition, Depot provides native multi-platform and Arm builds without any slow emulation, which is not available on many traditional CI providers. This makes it a great choice for companies that need to build images for different platforms.
Depot's pricing model is also more flexible than many traditional CI providers. Instead of paying for a set amount of infrastructure, companies only pay for the resources they use. This can help companies save money on expensive infrastructure costs.
Overall, Depot is a great choice for companies that need to speed up their Docker container builds and want a more flexible pricing model than traditional CI providers.
How Can Companies Get Started with Depot?
Companies can get started with Depot by signing up for a free trial on their website. The free trial includes 100 build minutes and 1GB of storage, which is enough to get started with building Docker images.
Once you sign up, you can start using Depot's CLI to build your Docker images on their managed VMs. Depot's documentation provides detailed instructions on how to get started, including how to configure your Docker environment to use Depot.
If you have any questions or issues, Depot's support team is available to help you get started. They can help you troubleshoot any issues you have and provide guidance on how to optimize your Docker container builds.
In conclusion, Depot is a startup that offers a faster and more efficient way to build Docker containers. Their solution is a remote container build service that is significantly faster than building Docker images inside generic CI providers. With emulation-free support for both Intel and Arm architectures, Depot provides a faster, more reliable and flexible solution for building Docker containers.
Depot's founders, Kyle Galbraith and Jacob Gillespie, have extensive experience in software engineering and have developed their solution based on their personal experiences with slow and inefficient container build tooling. Their solution is already being used by companies like PostHog, Better Stack, Appsmith, and Novu to save time and streamline their container building process.
Depot's ability to provide managed VMs running BuildKit, persistent SSD caching, and the ability to launch both native Intel and Arm machines on AWS, make it an attractive solution for developers looking to save time and improve their workflow. With Depot, developers can save tens of hours of build time every day and free up time to work on other tasks.
Overall, Depot is an innovative solution that has the potential to revolutionize the way developers build Docker containers. With a growing number of satisfied customers and a rapidly expanding user base, it's clear that Depot is a startup to watch in the coming years.