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Ruby on Rails cloud envelops PHP shop

Orchestra plays in the Engine Yard

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Engine Yard – a San Francisco startup offering a "platform cloud" for Ruby on Rails applications – is buying Orchestra, a Dublin-based outfit that provides a similar service for PHP applications.

On Tuesday, Engine Yard announced a definitive agreement to purchase Orchestra, saying it intends to expand its existing platform to PHP developers. Speaking with The Register earlier this summer, Engine Yard CEO John Dillon said that the company would eventually expand beyond Ruby on Rails, but the Orchestra move comes sooner than he indicated.

"We're focused on the Ruby on Rails community, but we will probably add other communities," he said. "We want to perfect what we're doing with Rails first, and then we'll consider other development environments."

Initially, Dillon now tells The Register, the Engine Yard and Orchestra services will continue to be available in their current forms, but a version of Orchestra will eventually be added to Engine Yard.

"No offering will be discontinued," he says. "Analysis and planning for the integration of the Engine Yard and Orchestra cloud platforms have begun. Many aspects of the Engine Yard cloud platform are language-neutral, so the first phase of integration will likely entail offering the Orchestra PHP stack as a new option within the existing Engine Yard platform."

Akin to Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, VMware's Cloud Foundry, and Heroku, Engine Yard's service is a means of building, deploying, and readily scaling applications. As of the end of April, the company claimed over 2,000 customers, but these are all Rails developers. App Engine, Azure, Cloud Foundry, and Heroku all handle multiple languages, though some are handled better than others.

Heroku also began as a Rails cloud, but it has later expanded to Node.js and Clojure.

When Engine Yard originally launched, the service ran on the company's own servers, but it has since moved the platform to Amazon. As of June, according to Dillon, half of Engine Yard's revenue was generated atop EC2.

Orchestra's platform cloud also runs atop Amazon's EC2 service, and it brings what the company's calls "highly active" members of the PHP online community. Technical director David Coallier is the president of the PHP Pear Group, the governing body of the Pear PHP extension and application repository, and he founded FRAPI, the open source PHP API framework. ®

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