I’m a Linux desktop user and have been for three years. A driving reason for my switch from Mac to Linux was performance. As a LAMP stack web developer, using Docker-based tools for local development is a must. A nagging problem for developers is the performance of Docker on macOS, specifically file system performance. I share some performance comparisons in the January 2020 blog post, Faster Drupal Development on Linux.
On a recent episode of Talking Drupal, #318 DDEV, Randy Fay, the maintainer of DDEV talked about the DDEV’s recent addition of Mutagen. He claimed DDEV with Mutagen on Mac runs “almost as fast as native Linux.” I had to check it out.
I configure a newly acquired Mac with an existing Drupal project running locally with DDEV. I also installed this project on my Linux desktop.
- Mac mini (M1, 2020) – 8GB RAM – 250GB SSD – macOS BigSur 11.5.2
- Linux desktop – AMD Ryzen 9 3900x – 16GB RAM – 1TB M2 – Pop!_OS 21.04
I followed the steps below with Mutagen turned on and off and ran the test multiple times to verify the results were consistent. I followed the same steps on Linux without Mutagen.
ddev stop --remove-data ddev poweroff (set mutagen on or off) ddev auth ssh ddev start ddev mutagen status rm -rf vendor time ddev composer install --no-cache
DDEV without Mutagen on Mac: composer install --no-cache - 4:41.91 total DDEV with Mutagen ddev on Mac: composer install --no-cache - 16.602 total DDEV without Mutagen on Linux: composer install --no-cache - 13.658 total
Caveats and Conclusion
I only recently started using DDEV after listening to Randy on Talking Drupal, so my experience with it is not much more than conducting this experiment. However, I believe the testing process had enough controls to fairly evaluate a single action; composer install. If I’ve missed something here, I expect someone will let me know.
If you are a PHP developer using a Mac, the results of 4.5 minutes vs. 16.5 seconds demonstrate that DDEV with Mutagen should be evaluated as a local development environment. However, the Mutagen implementation is new and there are some caveats outlined in the Performance Documentation.
While I tested on Apple new M1, I would expect similar results from the Intel line of computers.
I’m glad to have been exposed to DDEV and its helpful community. I will continue exploring a switch to it, even in my Linux environment.