We rarely think of software tools and car manufacturing together but in today’s engineering world they fit like nuts and bolts. That’s certainly true of the Open Infrastructure Foundation (OpenInfra)’s open-source continuous-integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) program Zuul. As Johannes Foufas, the Volvo senior principal engineer, explained, “Zuul is the default CI system for the code in our cars. In our core computer platform at Volvo, we have hundreds of modules that depend on each other, comprising repositories from all around our company. With Zuul’s built-in dependency management, we went from a week of integration to 3.5 hours.”
Volvo’s not the only company that relies on Zuul. Others include BMW, GoDaddy, Workday, and NTT Group. Why with so many continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) programs such as Jenkins, CircleCI, and TeamCity, it is no surprise that Zuul is so popular with Fortune 500 companies.
Mark Collier, OpenInfra’s COO, explained, “Zuul became a marquee CI/CD project because it grew out of both the needs of the OpenStack project being so massive and the need for testing changes in it. Volvo is actually using it as part of their self-driving autonomous driving systems and when you’re thinking about turning over the controls of your automobile to an algorithm, you want to double-check that code.” Zuul lends itself to fully testing code in parallel. Integrating testing on multiple branches at once makes taking code from developer to delivery not only faster but safer as well.
Collier continued, “Zuul’s cross-project dependencies and cross-project testing, means, you basically never merge code that is not fully functional across all of the dependencies. This is a really powerful set of tools that has found a fan base in the critical systems and auto manufacturing software teams.”
That’s certainly understandable. As companies realize this combination of speed and security, Zuul’s sophisticated project gating, especially in scenarios with multiple repositories, is gaining popularity. As James Blair, Zuul maintainer and Acme Gating founder, said, “Zuul enables teams to rapidly develop fully tested software in parallel at a massive scale.”
The only surprise really is that Zuul is not better known. With its growing role in the manufacturing space, however, it seems certain Zuul will find many new users soon.