A Single Testing Environment That Supports All Your Development Needs

By Kurt Lu May 26, 2020

In our Zuora Central Platform Series, we are excited to share with you the new functionality and how it’s being leveraged across subscription businesses.

As the Subscription Economy grows so do the challenges of software development in a multi product world. The new normal means one ecosystem could have over 100 cloud applications. That’s why speed and success of deployments is critical to your software deployment strategy. Between your IT business systems tools, order to cash systems, dev ops and engineering tools, it has become more cumbersome than ever to manage deployments across everything.

Zuora Central Sandbox, part of the Central Platform, is a testing environment purpose-built for a multi product world through automation around provisioning and data copy across distributed systems. This means one environment capable of helping you stay agile as you scale your IT deployment processes.

Hosting For Speed and Flexibility
Our infrastructure is just like our production environments─a multi tenant, elastically scalable infrastructure hosted entirely on AWS. Zuora’s future is with AWS and we deployed Central Sandbox in a similar way as our production environments. This allows our customers to experience production level performance, faster provisioning and data copy times, along with Zuora’s ability to horizontally scale as our customers’ demands grow.

Deploy What You Need When You Need It
Zuora started as a single product and through innovation Zuora was able to release new products that added tremendous value. All of Zuora’s Marketplace products, Workflow, Zuora Collect, Data Model, and Data Query are microservices. And it doesn’t stop there! In the future, as we continue to break out functional areas like users and settings, we will allow you to provision and deploy what you need, when you need it. This leads to faster and more targeted deployment processes.

With the key features of API Sandbox and Central Sandbox in mind, let’s level set on the evolution of your enterprise business systems software delivery lifecycle.

Every enterprise has various naming conventions for their development cycles, but we can think of them in three primary stages:

    • Stage 1 Ideation: This may be decoupled from delivery and utilized as a trial or for early prototyping. You may be a new Zuora prospect trying it out for the first time, or looking to prototype and sell a new project to your internal stakeholders. In these cases, either a purchased API Sandbox or free online versions like Zuora Test Drive are often used. As an example, IT organizations utilize Zuora Test Drives to demonstrate capabilities to sell a project internally prior to engaging with Zuora on a formal evaluation.

 

    • Stage 2 Development: Development begins when you have committed to implementing a software solution. Depending on how many phases of development you have, you may have one or multiple API Sandboxes or Central Sandboxes. When entering this phase for the first time, start with a blank slate and at a minimum we recommend having at least one empty API Sandbox. This empty API Sandbox acts as a simple, cost efficient environment that will get you started configuring your products, settings, and standard integrations. While a Central Sandbox is not required immediately at this stage, you should consider this product as an up front investment to have all your integrations and processes in place with more pre-production environments. This will save time and effort integrating this stage into your development cycles.

 

    • Stage 3 Pre-Production: Your pre-production phase is critical to ensure the integrity of your initial go live and even more so with subsequent go lives. In this environment you are no longer developing code. Instead you are promoting code and settings to this environment. This provides the most practical and realistic testing experience for your users and integrations. Whether you are deploying code or testing a new out of the box feature, this is also where users perform final business validation of a functionality before moving these activities to production (often referred to as User Acceptance Testing or Business Acceptance Testing). This is where Central Sandbox adds the most value. At this stage, we can bring a snapshot of your production data and settings to ensure an accurate representation of the impact of a particular feature on your business. While API Sandbox can be sufficient for this phase, we recommend investing in Central Sandbox. This is especially important as you evolve into further stages of your development lifecycle.

     
    There are varying degrees of performance that IT organizations expect from software solutions through the stages of a development lifecycle. Zuora is in a unique position because we support various degrees of volume, from low volume B2B, hybrid B2Any, and high volume B2C. By extending the functionality of the Zuora Central Platform we are providing our customers with a solid technology foundation so they have the agility to extend subscription management capabilities at scale.

    To learn more about Central Sandbox visit our Knowledge Center, and read our latest Zuora Central Platform press release here. Check out other blogs from our Zuora Central Platform Series: Custom Objects, Data Query, and Audit Trail.