There was a time when people needed food, water, and shelter. Cut to today, we have a new addition to the list: mobile devices. With every passing year, we are becoming more and more dependent on these devices to connect us with everyone worldwide. They have brought about a seismic shift in how we live our lives. 


    According to Statista, the number of smartphone users will continuously rise between 2024 and 2028 at 10.71%. This exponential growth is the reason why companies today focus on app development. For every mobile application to function well on smartphones, there is an army of people working at the back to ensure it delivers what it promises. 


    Their responsibility is to ensure that the apps work flawlessly on different operating systems, browsers, and devices so that whatever their user is using, it does not hamper performance. However, this also comes with the challenge of accessing these different devices and combinations. This is exactly what a device farm can solve for testing teams. 


    In this blog, we will cover what a device farm is and provide you guidance on whether you should build a device farm or not. So, continue reading till the end, and we hope you reach an informed decision. 

    What is a Device Farm?

    Device Farm is a cloud-based service that allows QA teams to test applications and websites remotely on a wide range of real devices. A device farm offers access to the latest and legacy devices from multiple manufacturers, browsers, and browser versions. With a device farm, you can test your application automatically on multiple frameworks or manually load and execute them on the preferred device. This informative blog will help you understand more about the significance of having an optimized test infrastructure, 


    There are two types of device farms you should know of:


    • Private Device Farms: These device farms are built using the devices that the company already has. These device farms provide full control to the organization and ensure scalability and sustainability in the long run. Company employees can access the enrolled devices at any time from anywhere.


    • Public Device Farms: These device farms are owned by third-party vendors who have full control over devices. Organizations require permission to access these devices whenever they want to test any application or website. They generally provide a time slot to companies.

    Benefits of Building Your Own Device Farm

    Take a look at some of the pros of having your own device farm:

    1. Reduced Costs

    The initial expenditures on electricity costs and setup might look expensive to you as they make up the most usage costs. But in the long run, they can prove beneficial as they will provide you with the ability to run more tests. Ultimately, this will reduce your costs and turn your investment promising.

    1. Better Access and Control

    Building your device farm allows you to have complete control over the test infrastructure. You can choose the devices that matter most to your user base and conduct tests at your convenience. Most importantly, you can prevent unauthorized access from meddling with your software or leaking information.

    Limitations of Building Your Own Device Farm

    Although private device farms provide various advantages, some drawbacks make them unsuitable for organizations:

    1. Continuous Maintenance

    If your device farm is vast and scattered, there will be a need for specialized engineers and other resources for regular maintenance, device clean-ups, and monitoring system sustainability. This can often divert vital resources from other critical testing tasks.

    1. High Initial Costs

    Acquiring and maintaining various devices can be costly, especially for startups or small-scale development teams. To add to this burden, the cost of adding newly launched devices from time to time and maintaining them can be challenging.

    Benefits of Using Third-Party Device Farms

    Take a look at some of the pros of leveraging third-party device farms: 

    1. Extensive Device Coverage

    Third-party device farms offer a broad range of devices without you needing to physically purchase them, maintain them, implement infrastructure, or set up hardware.

    1. Integration with CI/CD pipelines

    Most third-party device testing services offer seamless integration with testing tools and continuous integration (CI) pipelines, simplifying the testing process and facilitating automated testing procedures.

    1. Higher Scalability

    By building your private device farm, you can scale up and down as per your requirements. It means that you can add or remove devices as and when needed. This ensures device optimization and prevents idle devices on your farm. 

    Limitations of Using Third-Party Device Farms

    Although third-party device farms provide various advantages, some drawbacks make them unsuitable for organizations:

    1. Security Issues

    For companies with strict data privacy requirements, third-party services may not address security issues properly.

    1. Limited Control

    Hiring a third-party service means you have to purchase a plan and depend on it to update and fix devices periodically. This can delay your testing process.

    Device Farm: To Build or Not to Build?

    The ultimate decision between building your device farm or relying on third-party solutions leans on the following factors for both cases:

    • When to Build Your Device Farm

    • When you have an adequate budget and resources and need customization
    • If you want full control, as data privacy and security are your main concerns
    • If you plan to conduct extensive and ongoing device testing and can justify the initial investment and operational costs


    • When to Use Third-Party Solutions

    • If you are short on budget and cannot afford the high initial costs of building your device farm
    • If the third-party provider is reputable and can be trusted with data privacy and security
    • If you want access to an extensive range of devices


    The decision to build your own device farm or rely on a third party is dependent on various factors like resource allocation, budget, and your specific testing requirements. While both approaches have their pros and cons, the right choice is the one you make after considering all the factors thoroughly. 


    We would recommend you to try TestGrid. This end-to-end testing platform offers secure cloud-based infrastructure to test on hundreds of real devices and browsers to help users test mobile applications for 100% real user experience. The cloud comprises operating systems like Android and iOS and desktop browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. TestGrid mobile device lab is another excellent option to test your applications on real devices and browsers.


    The cloud platform is known for its cost-effectiveness, 24/7 technical support, and the ability to provide all testing under one roof- whether mobile app testing, performance testing, or cross-browser testing. So, give it a try and release software free from bugs for end users.