RightScale Launches Cloud Package For Developers, Testers

Front-end cloud management offerings expanded with server combinations for Java, PHP, Ruby, .Net software development.

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RightScale has teamed up with IBM and Zend Technologies to produce a rapid onramp for developers and testers to move their work into the cloud.

The firm's core product is software-as-a-service that allows customers to prepare workloads, send them to Amazon's EC2 cloud or the Rackspace Cloud, and monitor their workloads running there. Last month, it boasted that 1.3 million virtual machines had been launched in the cloud using its Cloud Management Platform.

On Tuesday, it added a Development & Test Solution Pack to supplement its existing platform. The pack consists of server templates that let a developer or tester configure a virtual machine that suits his or her needs. Automated server scripts send it to the cloud of choice and load the workload.

A developer can select one of two types: the All-in-One server for basic integration testing on a single virtual server in the cloud, and a Multi-Tier type for more complex testing. It includes separate load balancing, an application server, and a database server to test the moving parts working together.

The partnerships with IBM and Zend allow RightScale to offer a combination of IBM's DB2 database and a WebSphere application server with an Apache web server to test a Java application under development.

Through Zend, RightScale will offer "a pre-built Zend Server with its PHP stack. We will have our Zend Studio (integrated development environment) there with instructions on how to run in the PHP stack," said Kent Mitchell, Zend director of product management, in an interview. Zend Server is a PHP application server that includes PHP language libraries, Apache web server, Java connectors, a debugger interface, a data caching API, and application monitoring capabilities.

In addition to Java and PHP, application developers and testers may use the RightScale pack to build and test Ruby and Microsoft .Net applications in the cloud. In making its Development & Test Solution Pack multi-lingual, RightScale is expanding out onto the proven turf of cloud development and test specialists, such as Heroku, which hosts Ruby application building and deployment, or Microsoft's Azure, where Visual Studio tools and test environments are starting to be available.

The development and test environments include version control and archival of code cycles in the cloud. Development and test is sometimes viewed as a natural cloud workload, since the number of servers needed can vary widely and many similar, but slightly varied, server assemblies are needed for comprehensive testing. At the same time, when the testers go home, the servers can be shut down, saving money and energy, since their users are being charged by the hour in the cloud, said Betsy Zikakis, VP of marketing at RightScale, in an interview.

Many companies would try cloud computing if they could transport developers' work to the cloud instead of having to start out with production system workloads, she said.

Development & Test Solution Starter Pack is available immediately for a $500 a month subscription; first year's usage will be charged at half that, Zikakis said. A team pack is available for $1,000 a month, reduced to $750 for the first year of sign-up. Both packages require $4,000 in upfront services from RightScale to get started, she said.

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