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GitHub boosts security & power with new Actions enhancements
Wed, 3rd Apr 2024

GitHub has launched numerous enhancements for GitHub Actions, offering boosted security and power to GitHub-hosted runners. These updates will streamline their adoption across projects of varying sizes and complexity without compromising security or performance.

These updates highlight Azure private networking for GitHub-hosted runners, GPU-hosted runners for machine learning, and additional runner SKUs. These features aim to boost enterprise readiness across the platform and standardise automation and CI/CD processes for developer teams.

The newly introduced Azure private networking for GitHub-hosted runners is now generally accessible, signalling a robust fusion of cloud computing with secure access. It grants comprehensive security control over networks, eliminating overheads associated with infrastructure management and maintenance.

Azure private networking facilitates organisations to create GitHub-hosted runners within their chosen Azure virtual network and subnet. As a result, Actions workflows can securely access Azure services such as storage accounts, databases, and on-premises data sources.

This update incorporates prime security measures, whereby any pre-existing or newly implemented networking policies, including Network Security Group (NSG) or firewall rules, automatically apply to GitHub-hosted runners. This ensures administrators have complete control over network security from a single point.

Florian Koch, Lead Developer IT Platform at Deutsche Vermögensberatung, commented on the updates: "By executing our CI/CD workflows on GitHub-hosted runners, we save substantial time and resources as we no longer have to manage our infrastructure. Secure integration with Azure networking empowers us to establish secure, private connections with our internal resources."

GitHub has expanded its runner SKUs to include 2 vCPU Linux and 4 vCPU Windows runners while making Apple silicon-hosted runners generally available. These extra resources cater to diverse demand levels while maintaining high security and performance standards. Also, GitHub has entered the public beta stage for its GPU-hosted runners, designed specifically for teams working on large language models or games development that require GPU graphics cards.

Focusing on future developments, Tanmayee Kamath, Senior Product Manager, GitHub, said: "Driven by user feedback, GitHub is committed to constant improvement. Our efforts are channelled towards enhancing the overall scalability and reliability of the GitHub Actions platform. This involves investing in the Azure private networking feature set, streamlining setup processes, and addressing the evolving demands of users."

In coming enhancements, GitHub users will have the capability to design bespoke VM images natively in Actions, boosting efficiency for intricate or extensive projects. GitHub is also planning to extend its runner SKUs to accommodate variations driven by customer demand. These developments underline GitHub’s dedication to providing an unparalleled user experience.