Zend (previous CloudAve coverage), the company behind the popular PHP web application development framework, today announced the release of their PHP PaaS offering called PHPCloud.com, emphasizing on increased developer productivity. It is a clever packaging with strong ties between Zend Studio, Zend Framework and the elastic nature of cloud. As we see PaaS to be the mainstay in the future of cloud services and with enterprises starting to embrace PaaS, it makes complete sense for Zend to jump into the PaaS bandwagon, after all they are the gatekeeper of enterprise grade PHP apps.
What is Zend?
For those handful of people who think PHP is some drink, Zend is the company behind popular Zend PHP framework for large scale web applications offering simplicity, object oriented practice and a more flexible BSD license. This framework is very popular among the community and there are contributions from other large companies like Google, Microsoft, etc.. Zend also offer Zend Studio, the powerful IDE for developing PHP apps and an enterprise grade Zend Server (community edition is also available). Zend Studio offers advanced code editing and debugging with deeper integration with Zend Framework and Zend Server. Since Zend Studio is built on top of Eclipse IDE, it also supports more than 1000 Eclipse plugins. Zend Server offers optimal application performance, better queueing, better security, etc., helping the PHP-vary enterprises to develop their web apps using PHP. In short, Zend took PHP to the enterprises and persuaded them to use it without any worries.
Zend and Cloud
Zend’s approach to cloud so far was nothing spectacular except their role in supporting SimpleCloud API, which allows portability of applications to different cloud infrastructure providers (in those hey days of cloud when Amazon Web Services was the only well known infrastructure baby), in the Zend Framework. They did partner with Rightscale to help push applications to cloud and do some “PaaS Washing” but the announcement today at ZendCon 11 is the first clear announcement highlighting their cloud strategy. With this, they are clearly saying that they believe that the future of enterprise application development lies in dynamic languages and they are seeing PHP gaining a fairly big share in the game. Since, they are well established as the enterprise PHP company already, they see a better chance for themselves to take the large part of the enterprise PHP PaaS pie. This strategy is clear from the way they have packaged their PaaS and their partnership with enterprise grade infrastructure vendors for the backend.
What is PHPCloud.com?
With PHPCloud.com, Zend is trying to offer:
- dramatically increasing developer productivity by making it easy to develop apps, deploy apps and debug
- a scale-out production environment
- a choice to select the underlying infrastructure provider (an approach taken by many of the PaaS vendors these days)
They are trying to achieve these goals by
- A set of developer tools (new version of Zend studio, Eclipse plugins, CLI, etc)
- Zend Application Fabric (PaaS layer) on both developer cloud (hosted version on AWS which can be tapped by developers for debugging) and production cloud (on partner infrastructure)
- Partnerships with cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, IBM, Rackspace and many more to come in the future
This is the logical move for Zend to stay relevant as enterprises adopt PaaS more and more on both hosted and on-premise environments. They are solely focussing on the fact that Zend Studtio and its tight integration with the PaaS layer will help them grab the larger portion of the enterprise PHP pie. Their enterprise advantage gives them an upper hand with smaller layers like Appfog and Orchestra but we have to wait and see if they manage t grab the large portion of the segment.