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Announcing Zeebe 0.20.0: From Developer Preview To Production Ready

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  • Announcing Zeebe 0.20.0: From Developer Preview To Production Ready

After more than two years of development, we’re excited to announce the release of Zeebe 0.20.0. This is the first release where we’ve removed the “developer preview” label from Zeebe and are designating Zeebe as “production ready”. It’s a major milestone for the project.

In 2017, we created a dedicated team at Camunda with a vision to build a new workflow engine for high-performance applications running on modern, cloud-native software architectures. With Zeebe 0.20.0, we’ve taken a big step toward fulfilling that vision.

We’d like to thank the community for feedback and contributions during these first 2 years of the Zeebe journey. An active and supportive Zeebe user community took shape long before this release, and input from early users has already had a major impact on Zeebe and our future roadmap. We appreciate all of you who’ve helped us along the way.

To get started with Zeebe 0.20.0 right away, you can find Docker details and the distribution for download here.

Zeebe 0.20.0 Release Webinar

And we’ll be hosting a Zeebe 0.20.0 release webinar on Monday, July 22 at 5:00PM CEST / 11:00AM US EDT. We’d love for you to join us to learn more about what’s next with Zeebe and to ask us your questions.

You can register for the webinar here: https://camunda.com/learn/webinars/zeebe-mid-year-update-july-2019/

Here’s what we’ll cover in the rest of the post.

What exactly does “production ready” mean?

“Production ready” for the community edition is a definition that we on the Zeebe team had to come up with ourselves.

To put “production readiness” into context, it helps to understand why we started working on Zeebe in the first place. We covered this topic at length in our “Workflows Are Everywhere” blog post, and to summarize in two points:

  1. Modeling a business in terms of workflows has lots of benefits, but many important, emerging use cases–microservices orchestration being one common example–can’t be handled by existing workflow engines, primarily due to scalability and architectural constraints.
  2. Zeebe should be the workflow engine that unlocks these currently-unsupported use cases by offering true horizontal scalability and integrating seamlessly with modern, cloud-native software architectures.

Based on this vision, we decided that we would be prepared to remove the “developer preview” label from Zeebe and call it “production ready” when it:

  • Supports the business logic via BPMN elements necessary for many microservices orchestration use cases
  • Can be scaled horizontally on a Kubernetes cluster (without a relational database as a bottleneck)
  • Is fault tolerant, meaning no data loss if a node goes down and the ability to recover when such a failure does occur (again–all of this without requiring a relational database)
  • Works with modern, cloud-native components such as Docker, Kubernetes, Elasticsearch, Apache Kafka, and more
  • Provides workflow data in an easily-consumable format for monitoring and troubleshooting of running workflow instances and analysis of completed workflow instances

In other words, to be called production ready, Zeebe should be able to handle key orchestration use cases and do so reliably.

The final “developer preview” release that we announced at the beginning of June 2019 represented a feature-complete Zeebe in preparation for production readiness, and Zeebe 0.20.0 is a result of more than a month of testing and hardening this last preview release.

More About Zeebe 0.20.0

“Production ready” doesn’t mean “finished”

Moving from “developer preview” to “production ready” is still an early step for the project. The same team of core engineers that’s taken Zeebe to this point continues to work on it full time. We’re two weeks into Q3, and the team is already making good progress against this quarter’s roadmap.

And we’re certain that the product roadmap will evolve as our user base and community grow and we hear feedback from early production use cases. Because we can’t say it enough: we rely heavily on the user community for input on the product, and we encourage you to get in touch with us via our forum or Slack channel if you have feedback for us.

Why 0.20.0 and not 1.0?

We know we’ll learn a lot from the first Zeebe production deployments, and these learnings will meaningfully influence the product. “Zeebe 1.0” has a nice ring to it, but implicit with a 1.0 release is long-term API stability, backwards compatibility, and more.

Given how early we are in the Zeebe journey, we’re not ready to call this a 1.0 release, and we want it to be transparent that this was a deliberate decision. If we do end up having to make breaking API changes, we’d rather do so before we get to 1.0 and not by moving to 2.0 just a few months after a 1.0 release.

Of course, even in Zeebe’s pre-1.0 state, we’ll always make our best effort to avoid breaking changes, to communicate early and often about planned changes, and to provide a migration path if we do need to make such a change.

What’s next for operational tooling and enterprise support for Zeebe?

Our top priority for the first half of 2019 was a production-ready community Zeebe release, and that’s where we’ve been focusing our efforts.

But we have been working on other exciting projects in parallel. At the start of Q2, we released a preview version of Operate, a tool for monitoring and managing workflow instances running in Zeebe. Because Operate is still a preview, its license allows for unlimited non-production use, and there’s not yet an enterprise edition that makes it possible to use Operate in production.

And over the past few months, we’ve gotten lots of questions about what’s ahead for Operate and enterprise support for Zeebe.

Here are two updates.

Camunda Cloud: Zeebe and Operate as a Managed Cloud Service

Zeebe is built according to cloud-native principles, and we want Zeebe to be the workflow engine for important, emerging use cases running on modern software architectures.

But even with a best-in-class architecture, operating a distributed workflow engine 24×7 can be challenging and time consuming. We’ve heard from a number of users who would be happy for us to run Zeebe and Operate on their behalf.

With that in mind, we have a dedicated team–additional to the Zeebe core engineering team building the workflow engine–currently working the first iteration of Camunda Cloud, where we’ll offer Zeebe and Operate as a cloud service. This will be the first-ever cloud workflow service offered by Camunda, and we’re really excited for what’s ahead.

We’re not going to say much else about Camunda Cloud right now, but we’ll have news to share in the next couple of months.

Enterprise Support for On-Prem Zeebe and Operate

Many early Zeebe users have also expressed interest in a Zeebe enterprise offering, complete with support SLAs and a production license for Operate, that can be deployed on premises (as opposed to a managed cloud service).

Starting today, we’re rolling out a beta program for enterprise support for on-premises Zeebe deployments.

Re-licensing Zeebe Starting With 0.20.0

We released Zeebe 0.20.0 under the new Zeebe Community License v1.0. This is an important and multilayered topic in and of itself, so we dedicated a separate blog post to it.

You can learn more here.

Wrapping Up

We had a lot of news to cover this month, and we thank you for reading through this update.

We’re excited not only for the future of Zeebe and Operate, but also for the future of workflow automation as it’s applied in new and innovative ways.

If you have questions or feedback, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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