How We Solved The Challenge of Remotely Providing Devices For DevOps, Employee Onboarding, and Customer Support


Embracing a fully remote work culture has been a major challenge for companies worldwide during the pandemic, and 42Gears is no exception. We’d never had to deal with completely remote working conditions before, and now, we had to do everything from a distance. On the technical front, this included software development and validation. In regards to customer-facing work, we now needed to do remote customer demos, support sessions, and webinars. 

There was another problem. When we worked from an office, we had a large collection of devices for testing. While it was easy for team members to seek out the devices they needed in the office, this wasn’t feasible in a remote-work context. Many team members had traveled back to their hometowns for the duration of shelter-in-place orders, so there was no way for them to have access to devices in-person. 


We tried a variety of tools and frameworks to give employees remote device access. Over time, we ended up finding a framework we liked, and customizing it to our use case. This framework has allowed us to create a shared digital inventory accessible to all of our team members, which has helped us a lot. We can now provide full remote device control for our DevOps cycle, including development and validation. Plus, our product specialist team can easily do demos using this new framework.

The framework we created has been so successful that we’ve started using it globally in all of our offices. Plus, customers and OEM partners can connect their devices for us to control them remotely. This has been very helpful from a hiring perspective, as well; newly on-boarded team members can learn how to test devices without ever having to step foot in the office. Our CI/CD pipeline can proceed through the DevOps cycle without interruption. We’ve even been able to use this new framework during a webinar, conducting a remote device demo in real-time.  

While the framework is built on open-source elements, our personal additions have made a big difference. In our custom framework, anyone with a computer and a USB cable can connect their device to the computer, and from there, connect the device to the remote testing framework. We also added audit logs to easily track who used which devices, and when. Finally, we added a central login system that allowed each of our teams to access the devices they needed in a private, discrete, and secure way. For example, someone logging in for the sake of automation as part of DevOps, or controlling customer devices for demos, would have separate hosting, ensuring that one group would not interfere with the other. 


Thanks to our new solution, we’ve solved the issue of remote workers needing to access devices from afar. Now, any of our employees can make their devices available to anyone within the company.

During our development cycles, developers can remotely do debugging and single-stepping on devices from many cities away.

During our validation cycles, validation analysts can take available devices, and use browser control to access the devices and validate.

Our automation testing uses our solution and keeps our automation suites running, auto-reporting any issues that occur.

This framework has also been immensely useful for our technical support team. If someone reports an issue over the phone, sometimes it’s just not possible to replicate the issue on another device. This can be true even with access to debug logs. In the past, if this happened, we could only do further repairs if the user sent the device to our team. This is clearly inefficient, and now our new framework renders that strategy obsolete. By enrolling malfunctioning customer devices into our new framework, we can troubleshoot them rapidly, remotely. 


As companies contemplate permanently switching to partially or completely remote work cultures, remote device access has been a major concern for many. Our new framework has been a lifesaver for us, saving us great sums of time and money over the traditional method of shipping devices between workers. 

We call our solution AstroFarm, and now, we have made it available for other companies to use. With AstroFarm, you can create your own restricted and secure private device farm.

The diagram below depicts AstroFarm’s top-level architecture

AstroFarm Architecture
AstroFarm Architecture

To learn more about AstroFarm, please visit our website.

  1. Pingback:
  2. May 17, 2021

    Ultimate solution Finding !


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *