The typical development project buys dedicated IT resources whether they are in the cloud, hosting data center or bare metal stored in a closet to support testing and building their applications. We have seen purchase in the numbers of hundreds of machines to support the development lifecycle for a large development project.
There are a couple of technologies that can save an organization money on development environments. We have seen savings as large as 80 or 90% on the development support infrastructure.
Using the auto scaling and provisioning capabilities provided by most cloud providers like Amazon Web Services in combination with a Build Server like Hudson triggering server provisioning for a build, a team can now just rent hardware resources on demand. If a development team needed to perform a build and it takes an hour a day only on weekdays, the team can rent the server resources for ~20 hours a month. Buying a server full time is around 720 hours. Just in this instance it is a savings of almost 93%. This is one of the most simple use cases with the best return, but overall, you can almost always assume that a server doesn’t get used 24×7 for a development team.
Using the Amazon Web Services Calculator we came up with the cost of the single build server with a dedicated instance as well as on demand instance. Here are the calculators: