Berlin-based incapptic GmbH needed a solution to quickly and easily set up development, test, and productive instances as an alternative to constantly expanding their hardware pool for their incapptic Connect platform which greatly simplifies the publishing process of mobile apps.
Thanks to Parallels Desktop, new development and test environments can be generated very easily through the use of templates and cloning existing instances. New hardware no longer needs to be procured, and significant time and cost savings are achieved.
When Rafael Kobylinski joined the German branch of Apple® at the end of 2004, the computer science graduate and future doctorate holder was putting the finishing touches on his thesis on the subject of “Building Group Awareness in Distributed Software Development Projects.” As a proven expert in Apple technologies, Dr. Kobylinski was responsible for all consulting activities of the US group in the enterprise and education markets in Germany and Austria over the next seven years. With the launch of the first iPhone® in 2007 and the rapid popularity of this new breed of device in the business world, Dr. Kobylinski was at the forefront of an industrial revolution. He focused increasingly on enterprise mobility, app development consulting, and distribution. In light of rapidly growing demand from companies for support in this area, in 2011, Dr. Kobylinski decided to go it alone and founded incapptic GmbH. A very successful business idea then developed from a consultancy project in 2014: the development of the web-based self-service platform incapptic Connect, which has greatly simplified the entire publishing process for apps.
Installing an app is very simple for users of smartphones and tablets. One tap in the app store is all it takes, and then the new app is ready to use within a few seconds. However, the process of publishing an app in one of the large Apple, Google, or Microsoft® stores, or in an internal enterprise app store, is significantly more complex. For example, to publish an app in an internal store, administrators of the mobile device or mobile application management system being used need a large range of extra metadata in addition to a correctly signed binary file. The precise metadata requirements depend on the solution used, but generally include the name of the app, version number, a description for users, screenshots, and release notes, etc. The metadata required may be significantly longer if publishing an app in a public store. For example, the Apple App Store® requires icons for the app itself and for the Apple Watch® app, as well as app preview videos and screenshots for up to five different device types (3.5 inch, 4 inch, 4.7 inch, 5.5 inch, iPad®, and Apple Watch), a description, release notes, etc.— all in up to 28 different languages and again with each new update.
“The virtualization solution from Parallels makes it extremely easy for us to create new instances through clones and the use of templates without having to set up the Mac mini from scratch each time or having to acquire new hardware.”
-Rafael Kobylinski, CEO, incapptic GmbH
The incapptic Connect platform designed by Dr. Kobylinski and his team of developers rationalizes and automates this complex process. Rather than having to collect the required information from the developer community and going through the tedious process of manually entering it in the store, as was previously the case, incapptic Connect enables all the required app files and metadata to be submitted via a web front end, checked for accuracy and functionality, signed at the touch of a button, and then published in an internal or external app store. It is therefore no surprise that major companies such as Deutsche Lufthansa AG quickly placed their trust in the incapptic solution.
As Apple’s iOS remains the major player in the enterprise field with a market share of over 60%, seamless support for the publishing process of iPhone and iPad apps is a key function of incapptic Connect. In order to deploy the OS X®/Xcode® environment required in the back end, incapptic decided to lease a number of Mac® minis in a data center on which development, test, and productive instances are run.
However, if an additional Mac mini had to be leased every time, based on the large number of new instances being set up in daily operations, the estimated costs and operating expenses would soon go through the roof. To get a grip on this problem, incapptic needed to find a more elegant and cost-efficient solution.
As an IT professional, Dr. Kobylinski understood the options available to him. It was clear that virtualization software represented an ideal alternative to building a large, resource-hungry pool of equipment. The only question was which solution available on the market was the best for the very specific purposes of incapptic. In addition to purely technical aspects, the list of criteria put together by Dr. Kobylinski included aspects that were essential for a company operating based on a lean startup model—minimal costs and complexity, with maximum ease of use. It soon became apparent that Parallels Desktop met all the required conditions. With its official support for Mac minis, full compliance with all legal requirements from Apple, and its ability to quickly and simply clone instances and migrate virtual machines, Parallels Desktop stood out from its competitors such as VMware ESXi™ or Fusion® and has since become a vital part of operations at incapptic.
Following several months of continuous use of Parallels Desktop in rigorous productive operations, Dr. Kobylinski’s conclusion is overwhelmingly positive. “The virtualization solution from Parallels makes it extremely easy for us to create new instances through clones and the use of templates without having to set up the Mac mini from scratch each time or having to acquire new hardware. Consequently, during the course of development and every time a customer wants to evaluate our solution, we save both several hours work and a large amount of money. I particularly love the Snapshot function which is the perfect support for the change process. Failed updates of test or production instances can be undone very quickly and easily. This improves both availability and customer satisfaction. On top of this, Snapshot also helps to significantly reduce our stress levels, which my developers and I are extremely grateful for.”
“All in all,” Dr. Kobylinski continues, “Parallels Desktop has become an essential tool in our production processes—a tool which is always kept up to date thanks to the excellent update policy from Parallels and for which skilled support is always on hand in the very rare case of problems. As Parallels Desktop Business Edition also offers a licensing portal and a unified volume license key for simple integration with existing company infrastructures and straightforward management of several clients, we can be sure that the solution is scalable and will grow with us and our customers.