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10/20/2009
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Zend, RightScale Put PHP Apps In Cloud

Developers can deploy PHP applications on Amazon's EC2 cloud and monitor them via RightScale's Cloud Management Platform.

Zend Technologies, supplier of the PHP language and tools, and RightScale, a cloud application management service, have teamed up to help PHP developers get their applications into the cloud.

RightScale will provide templates for virtual servers that include the Zend Server, the core runtime environment for PHP applications. A developer can deploy a new PHP application on Amazon's EC2 cloud through RightScale and monitor its performance through the RightScale Cloud Management Platform.

RightScale CTO Thorsten von Eicken demonstrated the platform at ZendCon, Zend's annual user group meeting, at the San Jose conference center Tuesday, and described its features during a "Developing on the Cloud" panel at the conference Tuesday afternoon.

Cloud computing suppliers are finding an increasing share of their workloads to be PHP applications, said von Eicken. PHP developers need an assured deployment method to move their applications into the cloud. By supplying an application and designating the desired server type, RightScale can spin up a virtual machine that includes both Zend Server and the application cast into the Amazon Machine Image format, and send it to EC2, where it runs, he said.

Rightscale will also provide an auto-scaling service, where it generates more virtual machines in the cloud for the application if Web traffic or other aspects of the workload demand it.

The company wants its platform to eventually serve as a front end for accessing different clouds, taking advantage of each cloud's value added capabilities, von Eicken said.

Andi Gutmans, CEO and co-founder of Zend Technologies, said his firm has made Zend Server 5.0, the next version, available in a public beta for developers. Zend Server is open source code and may be downloaded from the Zend.com site.

Zend Server 5.0 supplies the runtime environment for PHP applications. This version includes a Code Tracing feature that Gutmans programmed himself and showed off during a keynote at the conference. He called it a PHP application's black box, like the flight recorder of an airliner. In the event something goes wrong, Zend Server turns on the Code Tracing feature, which captures the sequence of events leading up to an application's slowdown or other malfunction.

Code Tracing pinpoints where the problem occurred and shows the system administrator the lines of code involved.

"It's a game changer, in my opinion. This will end the constant brainstorming between operations and development, where the developer can't reproduce the problem that operations is talking about," Gutmans told the crowd.

Zend Server helps analyze what went wrong and diagnose the problem from Code Tracing and allows a system administrator to compose rules that govern Zend Server that may prevent it from occurring again.

Version 5.0 of Zend Server will also support the latest version of the language, PHP 5.3, he said. The production version of Zend Server will be available by the end of the year, he said.


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