Case Study

Blue River Technology
Blue River Technology builds with EngFlow Remote Execution are 9x faster. Developers can now share specialized hardware at scale.
Blue River Technology

About Blue River Technology

Blue River Technology is a subsidiary of John Deere that is radically changing agriculture by creating intelligent machinery. This is reflected in their complex product development, which includes a customized operating system, integrated embedded systems, and running on custom ARM64 hardware with GPUs.


From 3 hours down to 20 minutes

During the Build Meetup 2021, Bhanu Kaithe from Blue River Technology presented the challenges they were facing, and how EngFlow’s expertise and remote execution sped up their builds and tests, and reduced costs.

The pain of multi-hour-long, flaky builds

Our builds kept getting slower over time. We were running into multi-hour-long, flaky builds, which was restricting our development team to submitting only a couple of changes a day.
Austin Schuh
Principal Software Engineer @ Blue River Technology

Bhanu Kaithe shared more details about their problems with running Bazel on the target ARM64 embedded hardware they used for building and testing.

A 4-hour build could take up to 8 hours and then crash — we’d have to then restart the build. And that happened frequently.
Bhanu Kaithe
Lead DevOps Engineer @ Blue River Technology

9x faster builds and tests with EngFlow

Now that developers are using a EngFlow Remote Execution cluster, the builds just work.

Blue River Technology no longer has to maintain a second toolchain running on ARM64. The now obsolete code required to build Bazel for ARM64 — including docker containers and patching various rules — was deleted, simplifying everything.

We now have simpler and very stable builds. I haven’t had to touch the infrastructure in the last three months. And all the ARM64 crashes are gone now.
Bhanu Kaithe
Lead DevOps Engineer @ Blue River Technology

Builds and tests are now robust — and 9x faster. Instead of 3 hours, Blue River Technology builds and tests now take only 20 minutes. The speed-up is the result of using EngFlow’s Remote Execution, and the Bazel customization and build setup advice EngFlow build experts provided:

  • 1 hour saved by moving builds to EngFlow Remote Execution
  • 1 hour saved by enabling cross-compiled tests through EngFlow’s Bazel changes
  • 30 mins saved by upgrading data volumes to NVMe
  • 10 mins saved by keeping the Bazel servers warm

Saving at scale

With EngFlow’s solution, Blue River Technology no longer has to distribute custom hardware to developers. They can test against a cluster of shared hardware that is set up to the exact production specifications. The specialized hardware has better utilization and can now be scaled.

Now that developers run the tests against the EngFlow cluster, they don’t have to have their own silo environments and set them up. It saves a lot of dev time and also reduces the cost of distributing our custom hardware to our developers.
Bhanu Kaithe
Lead DevOps Engineer @ Blue River Technology

A happy choice

Blue River Technology self-manages their EngFlow Remote Execution cluster, but the resilience and predictability of Remote Execution allows their DevOps teams to focus on their core mission. Resources previously dedicated to maintaining the build infrastructure are now free to work on projects.

The EngFlow team has unmatched experience with debugging and accelerating Bazel builds. I can’t think of a better partner to have in our effort to improve our builds.
Austin Schuh
Principal Software Engineer @ Blue River Technology

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