LanguagesPHPZend Takes PHP Development to the Cloud

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The cloud offers enterprises a new approach to deliver applications and it also presents new challenges for developers aiming to build applications for the cloud. Zend, one of the lead commercial vendors behind the open source PHP language, is now accelerating its cloud development efforts with a number of new initiatives.

Zend has a new partnership with cloud computing vendor RightScale for testing and development of PHP applications. A new Zend Studio IDE and improvements to the Zend Framework for PHP application deployment also are in the works. The new efforts from Zend come as the company aims to grow PHP’s share of application development in the cloud.

“Why is cloud interesting? I think beyond economics there are problems that enterprises have been trying to solve that have been around for a long time and there have been ways to solve the problems, but cloud gives them a new opportunity to solve them in a more coherent way,” Andi Gutmans, Zend CEO told “I think it’s mainly around driving a professional application development lifecycle — having the best practices around development, testing and deployment.”

With RightScale, Zend is partnering around a testing and development offering for PHP in the cloud. The Zend Server PHP application server technology is a key part of the solution enabling developers to deploy PHP applications for the cloud.

“When we think about cloud at Zend, we’re seeing more of an evolution, where customers are looking at cloud both inside and outside of their firewall, as a way to more easily engineer their development processes,” Gutmans said.

Gutmans noted that Zend’s own Internet development infrastructure runs on VMware and they also test on Amazon. The goal at Zend with the RightScale partnership is to deliver an easy way for customers to scale their testing and development and make it easy for developers to provision PHP servers.

Beyond the new partnership, Zend developers are busy at work on the next version of their PHP IDE, Zend Studio 8.0. Currently Zend Studio 8 is at its Beta 2 release milestone.

“A big part of what we’ve worked on with Zend Studio Beta 2 is the remote filesystem support, which we’ve completely revamped,” Gutmans said. “We’re making it much easier for developers to connect to remote images.”

Gutmans added that Zend is evolving Zend Studio for more cloud development with some significant investments in how the IDE works, in terms of the performance of the workflow.

“Another piece is that we’ve added VMware workstation support into Zend Studio 8,” Gutmans said. “So what you get is local desktop virtualization and then remote cloud based support.”

Work is also under way on Zend’s Simple Cloud API effort for cloud portability and interoperability. Gutmans sees Simple Cloud as being a complementary effort to the Deltacloud API being developed by Linux vendor Red Hat for interoperable cloud management.

“Deltacloud is abstracting the management of cloud images,” Gutmans said. “What Simple Cloud does is it enables developers to build portable cloud native applications.”

While Simple Cloud is initially targeting PHP developers, it could have broader applicability.

“The way we’ve set Simple Cloud up is that it’s not just for PHP, the concept and designs could also be used for other languages,” Gutmans said. “So I’d be happy to see a Java implementation of Simple Cloud and maybe other languages.”

As far as what’s next for Zend in terms of product releases and cloud tools, Gutmans noted that at the upcoming Zendcon development conference in November, he will be providing additional information about Zend’s overall cloud strategy.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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