Developers who need to create apps on a Mac can now do so virtually courtesy of Amazon Web Services (AWS). On Monday, Amazon announced the availability of macOS instances on AWS via the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Run on Mac minis, the new virtual environment will let AWS customers run on-demand instances to build, test, and package apps on macOS. With EC2, developers will be able to design apps for the iPhone, the iPad, the Mac, the Apple Watch, the Apple TV, and Safari using AWS’s scalable and pay-as-you-go structure.
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The EC2 Mac instances will be hosted on an array of Mac mini computers outfitted with Intel’s 8th generation 3.2 GHz (4.6 GHz turbo) Core i7 processors, 6 physical cores, 12 logical cores, and 32 GiB (Gibibytes) of memory.
Powered by Amazon’s AWS Nitro System, the Macs will offer up to 10 Gbps of Virtual Private Cloud network bandwidth and 8 Gbps of Elastic Block Store storage bandwidth through high-speed Thunderbolt 3 connections. With this setup, the Mac minis can operate as fully integrated and managed instances like other Amazon EC2 instances.
Available in bare metal instance size (mac1.metal), the EC2 Mac instances support macOS Mojave 10.14 and macOS Catalina 10.15 with support for macOS Big Sur 11.0 coming soon, according to Amazon. AWS customers can connect to these Mac instances through an SSH for Command Line Interface and through active remote screen sharing using a VNC client for a graphical interface.
As Apple attracts more developers eager to design apps for its different products, there’s a greater need to provide them with the necessary resources. Instead of having to set up and maintain on-premises Mac hardware and software, those developers can turn to the new AWS instances to focus on the apps themselves. Individuals and organizations can access the virtual macOS environments to build and test their apps more quickly.
“You can use these instances to create build farms, render farms, and CI/CD farms that target all of the Apple environments,” AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blog post that explains how to use the new environment. “You can provision new instances in minutes, giving you the ability to quickly and cost-effectively build code for multiple targets without having to own and operate your own hardware. You pay only for what you use, and you get to benefit from the elasticity, scalability, security, and reliability provided by EC2.”
EC2 Mac instances are now available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), and Asia-Pacific (Singapore) AWS Regions as EC2 Dedicated Hosts with a minimum host allocation duration of 24 hours. Customers can purchase the instances on-demand or as part of a savings Plan (one- and three-year plans). AWS users who want to try the new environment can get started at Amazon’s EC2 Mac Instances page.