SplitPayments reduces build time from 15 to 2.5 minutes by moving to Semaphore

  • ⛔️️ 15 minute builds
  • ⛔️ Wasted time debugging CI performance
  • ⛔️ Costly subscription payments
  • ✅ 2.5 minute builds ⬇️ 6x
  • ✅ Reliable performance
  • ✅ Cheaper pay-as-you-go pricing

Discover what Semaphore can do for your team 🧑‍💻

The Challenge

The Split Payments team’s old CI solution was slowing them down. “Coming from CircleCI, the performance could sometimes be quite poor and unstable,” explains CTO Trevor Wistaff. “Wasting time debugging CI performance issues and simply having a slow feedback loop was hindering team performance.”

“It’s faster, more reliable and cheaper. A very rare combination.”

Overall, Split Payments needed their new CI/CD solution to

  • ✔️ Be stable and reliable
  • ✔️ Decrease build times compared to CircleCI
  • ✔️ Be cost-effective
  • ✔️ Use maintenance-free, managed build-agents

“Faster builds resulting in better productivity”

The Solution

The Split Payments team looked at alternatives like TravisCI and Codeship. However, they decided that Semaphore’s pay-as-you-go model was the best fit.

“The support made it easy to convert our somewhat complex CI config,” recalls Trevor. Semaphore provides a visual pipeline builder and pre-configured VM images. Semaphore maintains the VM images, so development tools in an array of languages are always up-to-date. Using these features, the team put together their workflow all the way from GitHub pull-request to deployment on AWS.

Testing is often the stage with the greatest potential for speed-up. Split Payments’ team easily took advantage of this for their RSpec tests and linting jobs. The artefact management features Semaphore provides made compiling aggregate code-coverage from the parallel tests simple. That done, the team could quickly move on to reaping the performance benefits.

Split Payments workflow in Semaphore

The Results

Trevor summarises the results: “15 minute builds down to 2.5 minute builds with parallelization – and still cost us less than CircleCI.”

The faster builds immediately paid off in increased productivity. Split Payments also found that Semaphore defies the ‘iron triangle’ rule. The rule dictates you can pick only two of speed, low cost and quality, but as Trevor concludes, “Good, fast, cheap. You don’t have to pick only two with Semaphore!”

“15 minute builds down to 2.5 minute builds with parallelization and still cost us less than CircleCI.”



Company Size

11-50 employees

Engineering team

12 people


Ruby on Rails


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