Zend Offers Blueprint for Continuous Delivery

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-10-08

Zend Offers Blueprint for Continuous Delivery

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Zend announced new offerings designed to empower companies to become more agile in their delivery of new applications.

At its ZendCon 2013 PHP conference here, Zend announced a new API framework as well as a new Blueprint for Continuous Delivery. That blueprint is a broad solution built on the Zend Server platform that is designed to accelerate and strengthen the process of bringing applications from code to production. It integrates all key processes involved—from continuous integration to automating a company’s infrastructure and application release process—and is built on a foundation of collaboration between the development and operations teams.

The new open-source API framework, known as Apigility, is designed to enable companies to adopt an API-centric architecture that supports more agile application delivery. The Apigility project has the goal of providing an easy way to create and maintain high-quality API-based applications. 

Zend also announced an expansion of the Zend Server ecosystem to include integration with the Cloud Foundry platform as a service.

Zend officials maintain that, for companies today, agility is essential, and applications have become the lifeblood and public face to customers and partners.

A recent study of more than 400 executives, conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, found that although “effective software development—from ideation to delivery—is essential to achieving competitive advantage,” less than 20 percent of companies have successfully implemented agile delivery practices.

More importantly, the study identified a huge gap between the market performances of companies that have mastered the software delivery cycle versus those that have not. The research showed that 70 percent of advanced companies “outperform their peers from a profitability standpoint.” 

Clearly, companies must invest in having the ability to develop, release and iterate apps quickly, or risk missing the window to innovate and seize market opportunities. Zend’s mission is to empower companies to achieve that advantage, which is otherwise known as agile delivery.

However, companies cannot achieve agility if their development and operations organizations are bottlenecked. Continuous Delivery removes the traditional development-to-operations obstacles by redefining the process by which apps flow from concept to market. The entire application lifecycle, from design and build to testing and release, becomes a single, streamlined, iterative process.

Zend’s Blueprint for Continuous Delivery has the Zend Server platform at its core, which provides consistency, automation and collaboration capabilities throughout the Continuous Delivery cycle. The blueprint also includes a series of patterns. These patterns codify best practices for various steps of the cycle and provide plug-ins that integrate Zend Server with the most popular continuous integration, infrastructure automation and monitoring software.

Clients can leverage these patterns to automate their core infrastructure and application release processes. For example, the pattern for Jenkins Continuous Integration can automatically perform test deployments after every integration build, deploying onto infrastructure automatically provisioned through Chef or Puppet.

“Zend has vast experience in assisting our large customers to automate key steps in the Continuous Delivery cycle,” said Zend CEO and co-founder Andi Gutmans, in a statement. “We’re excited to codify these best practices into patterns that can be easily adopted by thousands of additional companies of all sizes, enabling them to more rapidly gain the agility benefits of implementing a Continuous Delivery process.”



Zend Offers Blueprint for Continuous Delivery

With the new release, Zend is announcing the first of many patterns, including:

  • Zend Pattern for Continuous Integration with Jenkins
  • Zend Pattern for Infrastructure Automation with Chef
  • Zend Pattern for Infrastructure Automation with Shell Scripts
  • Zend Pattern for Infrastructure Automation with VMware vCloud Automation Center
  • Zend Pattern for Monitoring with Nagios
  • A series of SDKs that enable further custom integrations with any existing continuous integration or automation software or process

In the near future, Zend intends to release additional integrations, including patterns for Puppet Labs IT automation software, Bamboo Continuous Integration server and SNMP monitoring.

“If you’re not able to deliver value iteratively on an ongoing basis, you’re not developing for the Web,” said Jon Marston, vice president of Engineering at English Central, an online English learning Website with unique speech assessment technology for analyzing pronunciation, in a statement. "We were able to implement Continuous Integration with Hudson and tie it into Maven, using the Zend SDK to create packaged applications for robust deployment using Zend Server. As a result, we’re now catching bugs before they make it to QA and pushing out new releases twice a week with much higher confidence.”

Mitch Sonies, vice president of business and corporate development at Puppet Labs, said his company is "excited to collaborate with Zend on delivering a pattern for automating the Enterprise PHP workload using Zend Server and Puppet Labs’ technologies. Adoption of DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices continues to accelerate within the Enterprise, and with it, the need for fully automated, scalable deployments.”

“Enterprise IT is undergoing a major shift as the consumption of goods and services is becoming increasingly digital," said Ken Cheney, vice president of business development at Opscode, maker of Chef. "Technology is now the primary touch point for the customer experience, and the race is on to rapidly deliver new applications and services to market. Enterprise Chef and Zend Server provide the foundation for automating the entire application delivery lifecycle, providing the speed and agility necessary to meet the new normal of customer demand." 

Zend officials said the final piece for attaining true agility is to use an open cloud-based platform that can flex and scale according to business needs. Zend is announcing the intent to deliver a new integration with Cloud Foundry. Zend Server, Zend’s platform for Continuous Delivery, will be made available as a build pack to clients using the Cloud Foundry platform as a service (PaaS). Zend Server is already available on the IBM Smart Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Red Hat OpenShift, RightScale and several other clouds.

“We’re pleased that Zend intends to create a build pack for use with Pivotal CF, our enterprise PaaS powered by Cloud Foundry,” said James Watters, head of product, marketing and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal, in a statement. “By bringing Zend Server to Cloud Foundry, PHP developers can now continuously deliver, iterate and scale their applications, making the application the new unit of deployment, not infrastructure. We believe Zend’s focus on API centric architectures and Continuous Delivery fits well with our vision of Pivotal CF, powered by Cloud Foundry, as the new standard in Enterprise PaaS for the next generation of business applications."

Zend’s Continuous Delivery Blueprint and patterns are available at www.zend.com/blueprint. And early access to the Apigility project can be found at www.apigility.org. Zend welcomes contributions both to the blueprint patterns, which can be accessed at GitHub (https://github.com/organizations/zend-patterns), and to the Apigility project (www.apigility.org).


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