Zend’s PHP cloud: develop in the cloud, deploy anywhere

Zend has announced Zend Studio 9 beta, the latest version of its IDE for PHP. The feature that caught my eye is integrated support for the Zend Developer Cloud, currently in technical preview. Setting up a PHP development environment is not too difficult, but can be a hassle to maintain, and the idea of being able to fire up an IDE anywhere and start coding is attractive.

You do not need Zend Studio to use the Developer Cloud; they are independent projects, and you can use the free Eclipse PHP Development Tools (PDT) or another IDE or editor.

The PHP Developer Cloud is not just a shared hosting environment for PHP applications:

All applications are housed within a container on the Zend Application Fabric. This container is separate from all other containers and has its own database instance and is easily connected to your IDE.

The Zend Application Fabric is for deployment as well as development. It is a server framework that includes the Zend Framework and also the capability of scaling on demand.

Once you have developed your app, you can deploy to any cloud provider that supports the Zend Application Fabric, including Amazon Web Services, IBM SmartCloud,  a private “custom cloud”, or a resilient multiple cloud option which Zend calls RightScale. You can deploy to RightScale using both Amazon and Rackspace together, which I presume means your app will keep on going even if one of these providers were to fail.

Details on the site are sketchy, but if Zend has got this right it ticks a lot of boxes for enterprise PHP developers.

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