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🚀 All of the performance of Depot, now for GitHub Actions Runners!
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Introducing GitHub Actions Runners accelerated by Depot

Written by
Kyle Galbraith
Published on
13 March 2024
We're excited to introduce our third product, GitHub Actions Runners accelerated by Depot. All of the speed and performance from Depot-backed Docker image builds, now for your GitHub Actions jobs.
Introducing GitHub Actions Runners accelerated by Depot banner

Depot launched almost two years ago, and today Depot builds container images up to 40x faster, makes them easier to debug, and integrates with all your existing tool chains.

However, Docker image builds are only one step of the build process. Waiting for slow builds is frustrating, and we've spent a lot of time waiting for builds of all types when trying to ship a feature, deploy a bug fix, or just not interrupt momentum.

We've been working to bring Depot's performance to all builds. Today, we're excited to announce the release of Depot-managed GitHub Actions Runners 🚀

Problems with GitHub Actions Runners

GitHub Actions is a powerful CI platform, but it has flaws:

  • GitHub-hosted runners are often slow; they don't use the fastest CPUs and have slow single-core and multi-core performance
  • The time to pick up jobs can vary drastically, from a few seconds to almost a minute — just to start the job, let alone run it
  • Cache performance, both upload and download, is pretty poor (at ~145 MiB/s)
  • Network performance can bottleneck a build's interactions with artifact hosts, container registries, or the internet at large, either because GitHub-hosted runners have a throughput limiter, or due to network throughput and peering from European datacenters
  • Self-hosting runners requires overhead to deploy, maintain, and scale them, something that not all teams want to deal with

The tl;dr is that GitHub-hosted Actions runners are solid, but they're not fast, limited in resources, and not necessarily cheap once you get outside default runner sizes.

Introducing Depot-managed GitHub Actions Runners in AWS

Since launch, we've been building the key components to make Docker image builds fast, and we're now applying that same platform to GitHub Actions runners.

Depot runners are fully managed and deploy in our cloud or in your AWS account, and they provide the same benefits as our Docker image builds for GitHub Actions jobs:

  • Faster compute: We are launching with GitHub Actions Runners running on 4th Gen AMD EPYC Genoa CPUs that are 30% faster than GitHub's native runners.
  • Faster cache: Depot runners automatically integrate with our existing distributed cache for cache upload and download speeds up to 1000 MiB/s, resulting in 10x faster cache with no additional configuration or actions needed in your workflows — no 10GB cache limit either.
  • Faster network: Our GitHub Actions runners are running in AWS us-east-1 region for close data locality to your repositories and the GitHub API with 12.5 Gbps of throughput.
  • Faster job pickup time: We've optimized our job pickup time to be sub 5 seconds for most jobs, and sub 10 seconds for the rest.
  • Single tenant: Our GitHub Actions runners are single tenant, meaning you don't have to worry about noisy neighbors or runners being reused across builds.
  • Fully managed: No concurrency limits, no cache size limits, no network limits, and no maintenance overhead. Run your GitHub Actions jobs in our cloud or your AWS account, fully managed by Depot's control plane.
  • Half the cost: Our runners are half the cost per minute of GitHub-hosted runners. Minutes included with your plan can be used with any size runner you choose.

Depot-powered GitHub Actions Runners are faster, come without limitations on concurrency or cache, are more reliable, more cost-effective, and are fully managed in our cloud or your AWS account.

How to get started

To get started with our GitHub Actions Runners, you can sign up for Depot and connect your GitHub account. Once connected, you can add a Depot label in your runs-on to use Depot runners in your workflows.

name: Build
-runs-on: ubuntu-22.04
+runs-on: depot-ubuntu-22.04

Check out our GitHub Actions documentation for a step-by-step guide to configuring Depot runners in your GitHub Actions workflows.

One more thing...

Our GitHub Actions Runners and our existing Docker image builds live in the same infrastructure! By combining our image builds with our runners in the same private network, you can get even faster Docker image builds. This is particularly relevant when building an image and using --load to pull it back into your workflow for additional testing.


We've spent a lot of time building the infrastructure and features to make builds faster, and we're excited to bring the power of Depot to GitHub Actions Runners.

If you're interested in trying Depot, we have a 7-day free trial for any plan that makes sense for you and your team. You can see our full pricing on our pricing page, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out via email or pop into our Discord Community.

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