Over my career, I've been passionate about simplifying software development. In the early 2000s, it was easy to spin up your editor, write code, and run it. It just worked! But today, in 2023, setting up dev environments has become painfully complex. I've struggled countless times to configure projects and reproduce environments. Nothing is more frustrating than the "works on my machine" problem.
SDEs ensure consistent workspaces and configurations.
SDEs improve productivity, scalability, and security.
Developers face endless friction in setting up their environments. Between config headaches, dependency issues, compute constraints, and security workflows, engineers waste 50-70% of their productive time on non-coding tasks.
That is a lot of time that you're spending not actually doing the job that you need to do.
For engineering leaders, these inefficiencies add up to over $80,000 per developer yearly in lost productivity. And on top of that, developers face daily frustrations getting set up to write code.
There's light at the end of the tunnel. New infrastructure-as-code solutions like Dev Containers and Devfile aim to bring sanity back with the promise of standradization of the development environment.
What are Standardized Development Environments?
We at Daytona define a standardized development environment (SDE) as:
A standardized development environment provides a consistent workspace, configuration of tools, build process, and environment settings. Enabling a uniform development setting, ensuring that every developer operates within the same parameters.
With SDEs, engineers get coding faster by eliminating tedious environment configuration. The entire team operates on the same setup, avoiding the hated "works on my machine" problem.
You basically just have one file inside, which is part of your source code repository, and instead of typing the command in the terminal, you'll just add it to the configuration file.
Dev Containers, Devfile, and Nix are three popular SDE definitions gaining adoption:
Dev Containers: Open standard from Microsoft. Integrates with GitHub and VS Code.
Devfile: Created by Amazon Web Services, IBM, JetBrains and Red Hat.
Nix: 15 years old, defines environments through config files.
With SDEs, adding a new tool or dependency is as simple as updating the config file. The next time you or a teammate checks out the code, the environment will automatically update. No more one-off terminal installs that break the build.
The 3 Pillars of Developer Velocity
SDEs accelerate developer velocity by optimizing productivity, scalability, and security.
Zero setup time: Get coding in minutes instead of days.
No context switching: Local and cloud environments are identical.
Shareable configs: Make onboarding new developers painless.
No compute limits: Easily access more RAM, CPU, or GPU power in the cloud.
Ad hoc allocation: Scale down when you're done. No more managing permanent dev instances.
Improved cost efficiency: Share pooled cloud resources instead of overprovisioning.
Isolated environments: No credentials or code on local machines.
Controlled access: Manage permissions to cloud resources centrally.
Enhanced governance: Apply security policies consistently across all dev environments.
Why Companies Need SDEs
Here are a few examples of how standardized environments are mission-critical for industry leaders:
Shopify: As production engineer manager Don Kelly said, "Projects at Shopify were becoming more complex with more moving parts. Laptops were melting." SDEs were the only way to deliver necessary computing power to devs.
Uber: Paid $148M after a security breach exposed source code and credentials stored locally. Now, Uber has implemented their own internal SDE platform.
Airbnb, Stripe, LinkedIn, Tesla, Palantir, Spotify, and others: All built internal SDE platforms to increase development velocity.
For most teams, building a robust SDE solution in-house is not feasible. Daytona makes an enterprise-grade development environment management platform accessible to any team.
The Daytona Vision
At Daytona, our vision is simple: developers should be able to configure, provision, and access standardized development environments with a single command. With development environment management solutions like Daytona, teams release faster and focus on building.
It's incredibly rewarding to see my vision of simplifying software development come to life. I'm optimistic Daytona will revolutionize how we create software.
Let Daytona manage dev environments so your developers can own the products.