Zend Amps Agile with Blueprints

Earlier this month at the annual ZendCon PHP developer conference, Zend CEO Andi Gutmans told attendees it takes too long for most enterprises to get their code into production, even Agile organizations To accelerate that process, his company created Blueprints for Continuous Delivery, a codification of best practices for each step of the software delivery cycle designed to organize them into a single, iterative process.

"This isn't just about Agile development," Gutmans told his conference keynote audience. "I'm sure that all of you guys are writing code really fast, and most companies have embraced Agile development methodologies...But writing code fast doesn't really help you to get that code into production faster and get to a higher pace of innovation."

Blueprint for Continuous Delivery is a solution built on the Zend Server PHP-based Web application platform and leverages its automation capabilities. The codification comes in the form of Patterns, which can be implemented through server plug-ins. The idea is for organizations to use these Patterns to automate their core infrastructure and application release processes, generating what Gutmans called a Continuous Delivery cycle.

"Continuous Deliver is all about how fast you can really move that code from development into operations, collaborate with operations, and innovate at a daily or weekly pace," he said. "We believe that you need to focus on automating your whole infrastructure... to build a repeatable process to both provision the environment and configure the environment. And you want to use exactly the same process in testing, staging, and production, so that by the time you deploy your application, you know that you have tested that exact same environment."

To illustrate, he showed attendees a graphic of a conveyor belt that's "frictionless and automated, all the way from code to production."

Zend unveiled the first group of Patterns codified in its Blueprint solution. The list includes patterns for:

  • Continuous Integration with Jenkins
  • Infrastructure Automation with the Chef configuration management tool
  • Infrastructure Automation with Shell Scripts
  • Infrastructure Automation with VMware vCloud Automation Center
  • Monitoring with Nagios
  • And a series of SDKs designed to enable further custom integrations with any existing CI or automation software or process

The company plans to release Patterns for Puppet Labs IT automation software, the Bamboo CI server, and SNMP monitoring.

Gutmans' Continuous Integration pitch also made the case for DevOps: "We think that gone are the days when only ops owns the application in production," he said. "The development team has to participate in that-which doesn't meant the developers have to get root access to the servers. But it does mean that you need to have shared visibility and ways to collaborate to tackle any issues together."

Zend Technologies is the Cupertino, Calif.-based creator and commercial maintainer of the PHP dynamic scripting language. The company was founded by Gutmans and CTO Zeev Suraski, who are key contributors to PHP and the creators of the core PHP scripting engine.