Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Zend and RightScale Deliver a Customizable PHP PaaS: Deploy and Scale Industrial Strength PHP in the Cloud of Your Choice

The industry is going through a major reset as a result of Cloud Computing. Economies of scale, driven by public Cloud infrastructures in conjunction with pay-as-you-go pricing models, create a very strong motivating factor for companies to move more of their workloads into the Cloud. In addition, Cloud promises to deliver unprecedented agility and time-to-market which makes it all the more appealing.

Today, more than 35% of the Web workload runs on PHP (some believe it is closer to 55%). It is therefore not surprising that RightScale, the cloud management leader that powers the likes of Zynga, has reported that more than 37% of its customers are running PHP in the Cloud (PHP ranks as the #1 language among RightScale customers).

These synergies brought RightScale and Zend together in 2010, focused on delivering a best-of-breed PHP Cloud offering. At that time, we introduced the RightScale Zend Dev & Test Pack to enable PHP developers to get started quickly with a pilot project in the cloud. Today, we’re introducing the RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack to deliver PHP for production in the Cloud.

We have aligned the development of a Platform as a Service (PaaS) with the needs of our existing and future customers, and defined key tenets for the Zend PHP Cloud Application Platform including:

- Multi-Cloud – We believe the market is looking for a consistent PHP application platform across multiple-cloud environments including public and private environments.

- Application Centricity – No matter what underlying resources are serving the application, the need for application-centric deployment and management is fundamental to how our customers want to run their workloads.

- Application Lifecycle – Achieving operational excellence and predictability requires strong consistency from development to testing to staging and production and a capable agile process to push new functionality into the market quickly.

- Portability – Cloud native applications should be fully portable across cloud infrastructures.

- Elasticity – Cloud platforms should automatically scale up and down, on-demand based on workload to ensure optimal user experience and help reduce infrastructure costs.

- Flexibility – Businesses have broadly varying workloads, business requirements and application preferences. We want to ensure users can customize their platform to fit their business needs.

RightScale’s experience in Cloud and Zend’s experience in PHP combine to deliver the most pragmatic and broadly applicable PHP platform that ensures success for customers who want to develop and deploy fault-tolerant, scalable and manageable PHP infrastructures in the Cloud.

The following are some examples of how we jointly address the above tenets with RightScale providing the infrastructure management capabilities and Zend focusing at the application development layer:

- Multi-cloud – RightScale is a multi-cloud management platform. While Amazon has been the focus, by year-end RightScale will, at minimum, have added support for the Rackspace Cloud and Cloud.com. Zend, in turn, will deliver a completely consistent PHP experience across these multiple Cloud environments.

- Portability – RightScale enables portability of infrastructure recipes and management such as load balancers, the Zend PHP Cloud Application Platform, database and other infrastructure components across multiple Cloud environments. Zend leads the Simple Cloud API project, which enables portability at the application level.

- Elasticity – RightScale has experience in monitoring and scaling-up applications that run on thousands of servers, including the provisioning and managing highly available infrastructure components. This tweet exemplifies how RightScale scaled-out a Web site to meet peak demand. Zend, too, has expertise in delivering scalable and highly-available fault-tolerant PHP environments for customers including NYSE Euronext, GE, BNP Paribas and others. Our platform supports scale up and down in the Cloud and addresses configuration, fault tolerance and other important aspects of elastic environments.

Through tight integration of RightScale and Zend technologies, with a click of a button, customers can launch highly-available virtual PHP infrastructures that include HA load balancing, HA MySQL and HA Zend PHP Cloud Application Platform (powered by 8 virtual servers). It is very cool stuff and really exemplifies the promise of cloud computing.

Our PaaS solution enables customers to ‘lift the hood’ and tweak the templates behind these infrastructures. For example, a development team may want to use Oracle in their cloud platform. They can easily use RightScale’s capabilities to add an Oracle setup to their template. This does not change the fact that a full infrastructure can be launched on the Cloud of their choice with the click of a button and it is offered on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Need one of these setups for staging? Click a button to get an identical environment for staging. Deploy a new application version in staging, test, and if all is well, deploy to an identically configured production environment. Another click of the button and the staging environment goes away until a new one is needed. It’s cost-effective and agile PaaS, without compromising architectural and operational excellence. Exactly what businesses need when running critical applications in the Cloud.




At Zend we are very excited about Cloud Computing. We believe it is a game changer and by delivering an elastic, customizable PaaS built with architectural excellence and multi-cloud in mind, we are able to help our customers get the maximum benefit out of Cloud whether public or private.

The RightScale and Zend joint offering is production-ready, generally available and can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis from both RightScale and Zend.

And this is just the beginning. We are working on several additions to the platform including robust application deployment (not far off) and other initiatives that will continue to accelerate onboarding and ensure operational excellence in production.

Thanks to our friends at RightScale who’ve done a phenomenal job in working with us to integrate and harden the platform. It’s been a pleasure!

Happy PHP’ing!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rapidly deliver native, connected mobile applications with Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP

imageBy 2013, the number of internet-connected mobile devices will exceed the number of internet-connected PCs. Apple’s App Store has paid out more than $2 billion to date to developers of mobile applications, and this is just the beginning. Mobility is the biggest disruption in the industry today and people everywhere are working, playing and learning differently thanks to mobile technologies. Whether at work or on personal time, people have high expectations for a rich and productive mobile user experience. In a recent survey of our Zend Server customers, more than 70% of respondents reported they are either delivering or planning to deliver rich mobile experiences to their users. The need to move quickly and support ever more mobile platforms creates a perfect storm for the emergence of what Gartner calls client-cloud applications*. The client represents a rich application on an internet-connected device while cloud is a set of consumed services hosted in an elastic, scalable cloud platform.

It’s only natural that developers are hungry for a flexible, productive platform that will help them deliver native, connected mobile experiences rapidly. With this in mind, at Zend we have been working closely with our partner Adobe and thanks to that collaboration we are today jointly announcing Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP (Zend SiteAdobe Site).

This new product appeals to developers who want to build creative and capable mobile apps quickly and efficiently. Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP merges the workflows of mobile client and PHP-driven cloud services, and among other things, enables its users to:

  • Build apps that run natively across multiple platforms and devices including iOS, Android, and Blackberry
  • Seamlessly create mobile projects that leverage the Flash Platform and PHP
  • Leverage wizard-driven workflow to easily wire client-side Flex and server-side PHP
  • Enhance the developer experience, with multi-device integrated debugging across desktop (IDE), mobile device (client app) and server (PHP) — it’s a game-changer
  • And in case you didn’t quite notice my previous mention of iOS – yes! Adobe will enable standalone applications built with Flex on the iPhone and iPad**, and with that enable our joint customers to target a broad set of mobile devices.

    I am very excited re: the possibilities this integration opens up. For a better idea of what this looks like Kevin Schroeder from Zend has created a very cool flash demo.

    As I previously noted I believe mobile is going to be one of the biggest game changers, our customers clearly recognize that and we intend to be there to make them successful. PHP is ideally positioned to deliver the services to native, connected applications due to its high-productivity and proven scalability which enables the rapid delivery of optimal user experiences.

    A big thank you to the Adobe team – we have made friendships through this partnership and appreciate the investment they are making in PHP. With our friends at Adobe and our ongoing development of the Zend PHP Cloud Platform, we are providing our users with the tools and development experience they need to master internet-connected mobile application development and seize the opportunities created by the mobile revolution.

    The Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP bits will ship within 30 days. Register on Zend’s or Adobe’s Web site if you want us to let you know when you can download the bits.



    * Gartner, March 2011 - Client-Cloud Applications: The Rebirth of Client/Server Architecture

    ** Adobe compiles ActionScript down to native ARM code. Once it's compiled and packaged, there's no interpreter and the resulting app is fully compliant with Apple's App Store guidelines. iOS support in Flash Builder 4.5 will ship 30 days after the product is released and will be a free update.