Summary:

RightScale and Zend are now offering a platform-as-a-service offering for developing PHP applications in the cloud. RightScale and Zend are targeting their joint RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack for enterprise applications that require advanced development tools and high service levels.

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Cloud-management platform provider RightScale and Zend are now offering a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering for developing PHP applications in the cloud. Other PaaS offerings support PHP, including the freshly minted PHP Fog, but RightScale and Zend are targeting their joint RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack at enterprise applications that require advanced development tools and high service levels.

At its core, the RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack combines the best elements of PaaS and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Developers get a preconfigured application-development environment composed of Zend’s suite of PHP tools, including Zend Server, and RightScale’s operational automation capabilities. With RightScale, users can choose the underlying public or private cloud infrastructure of their choice and can automate tasks such as infrastructure configuration and scaling.

RightScale CEO Michael Crandell said PHP was a natural area to target. Not only is the community of PHP developers enormous, but it also makes up the largest percentage of RightScale customers. By partnering with Zend, whose Zend Server is a very popular PHP application server, Crandell said the RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack targets enterprise applications, not early-stage or “toy applications” like some other PaaS offerings appear to target. A big reason for this description is that although standard configurations are available, developers also have the flexibility to customize their applications and infrastructure beyond the high level of abstraction that PaaS typically entails. For example, explained Zend Co-Founder and CEO Andi Gutmans, Zend allows for full lifecycle management, from development to testing to production.

For RightScale, the RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack represents its second major PaaS effort in as many weeks. Last week, it was announced as a foundational IaaS partner for VMware’s Cloud Foundry PaaS software that supports a variety of languages and frameworks, including Java, Ruby and Node.js.

As developers get more used to cloud computing in all its forms, including PaaS and IaaS, they’re increasingly demanding the flexibility for some degree of control in both application- and infrastructure-level management. Aside from what RightScale is doing with its partners, Amazon Web Services is providing this capability with Elastic Beanstalk and startup DotCloud is offering its own unique take with its namesake cloud platform. The ultimate result, it seems, will be public cloud platforms that cater to all levels of developers as well as to IT types concerned with ensuring security, performance and compliance by being able to lift the hood and customize or monitor infrastructure components, if need be.

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