How Balena Releases 100's of Embedded Operating Systems with GitHub Actions in Hours, Not Weeks

Vipul Gupta

Product Owner at Balena


3:15 - 3:45 PM IST


BalenaOS is an open-source embedded Linux OS supporting 90+ boards, resulting in 90+ releases built, tested, and deployed by GitHub Actions without human intervention. With hundreds of revisions, high stakes, and need for reliability being crucial factors in the IoT industry, how do we release balenaOS not just as fast as possible but as confidently as possible? This is where our hardware-in-the-loop (HiTL) pipeline, built with GitHub Runners, comes into play. It tests software end-to-end on actual devices using an open hardware test harness (jig) called Autokit. In this talk, we'll dive deeper into how we leverage GitHub Actions to build an efficient HiTL pipeline. We'll explore how this has helped us scale our toolchain to develop, test, debug, and release our OS effectively within hours, replacing weeks of manual testing. We'll take you on a journey from a GitHub pull request to a final production release, explaining each step along the way.

Key takeaways

  • Helping you build your own HiTL pipeline to catch bugs and provide crucial feedback for any hardware product you're developing. This enables frictionless development, secures your supply chain, and accelerates deployments.
  • Scaling GitHub pipeline usage efficiently to manage costs and optimize performance. We'll cover using GitHub Runners as test hosts and managing them effectively with tags and the GitHub API.
  • Build better experiences for your team working with GitHub to boost productivity, regardless of your use case.
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