Does faster deployment equal faster development?

If you speed up deployment cycles, do you achieve faster development times overall?

This question was answered in our webinar yesterday, “Developing apps faster,” with our director of professional services and consulting, Maurice Kherlakian.

Using his experience helping clients around the world and adding a few live demos showing deployment automation in action, Maurice covered these five ingredients for delivering enterprise-grade apps in minimal timeframes:

  1. Waterfall vs. Agile
  2. Feedback and monitoring
  3. Automation (for release & testing)
  4. Continuous integration
  5. Frameworks & libraries

The conclusion is: investing in the right tools, automation, and processes to reduce deployment times – achieving critical synergy between development and ops – results in faster overall development times as a side effect.

We also offered a DevOps maturity assessment to all attendees of the first webinar, Keeping up with PHP (replay here), and will provide complete results and analysis in our next blog – stay tuned.

Audience poll results

Here’s where our audience stood on the topics of deployments, Agile, and CI.

At what frequency do you deploy?

The amount of people deploying multiple times a day and once a day, totaling 46% of the audience, was surprising, as it indicates a large number of companies have already adopted continuous delivery systems – great to hear!

What development practice do you follow?

We were expecting a smaller percentage of people using waterfall but the large number using both types of practices matches what we see with our customers. Comparing this with a TechBeacon survey performed last year, where over 65 percent said they were either pure Agile or leaning towards it, we see our audience numbers were along similar majority-Agile lines.

Do you use a CI server?

This was the most surprising poll, given the results of the previous polls and the focus on CI for this webinar. With 86 percent not using a CI server, we hope that we’ve convinced you to look into it.

Answering your questions

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to answer all questions during the webinar, so Maurice has provided these answers.

I’m building a server-client app with a PHP-based server and a Delphi Object Pascal client. Is there a tool for testing such a combination?

[Maurice] I’d need to know a little more about the architecture but there are ways to simulate requests from the Delphi object. You can stub most objects out on the PHP side, using mocks with PHPUnit or a similar tool and simulate requests/responses in a very similar way to testing web services.

Does Zend Server Monitoring require instrumentation of your code?

[Maurice] It does not. You can instrument your code to provide Zend Server with enhanced statistics and additional features, such as logic errors. Out of the box, Zend Server doesn’t require any instrumentation of code as long as it’s PHP.

Do you recommend Docker or Vagrant over Kubernetes?

They are both different technologies, that for the purposes of development accomplish a similar end goal. So it becomes more of a question of which technology fits best in your organization. VM’s are slow to start up and provision compared to containers (whereas you only incur the cost of build for a container when you build it the first time, starting up a container in most cases after that is instantaneous), but containers do require an infrastructure to host them.

Does Zend support any of the CI tools mentioned?
[Maurice] Yes, Zend Server lets you streamline and automate the process of deployment, as we saw in the webinar with the demonstration of a new commit using the combination of Git, Jenkins, and PHPUnit. This white paper dives into more details about implementing a CI system with Jenkins and Zend Server.

Stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll discuss the results of our DevOps maturity assessment.

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    Roy figured that the best way to learn something is to try and explain it to someone else. After years of explaining things while standing up, he decided the better approach was to do it while sitting down. Beside a poster of a famous starship. Learning from projects in defense, mobile, and game development, Roy figured out one more thing: real code isn't dead but it could be made better.

    About Roy Sarkar

    Roy figured that the best way to learn something is to try and explain it to someone else. After years of explaining things while standing up, he decided the better approach was to do it while sitting down. Beside a poster of a famous starship. Learning from projects in defense, mobile, and game development, Roy figured out one more thing: real code isn't dead but it could be made better.

    • Sundyloo

      between once a week and once a quarter, i think we’re missing something … imho

    • Onno Lissenberg

      Zend Server is a great product, except for the pricing, we’re currently in the process of leaving because of it, the cost tripled the last few years. Also when we really had issues, the support was disappointing.