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PHP lands on VMware's Cloud Foundry

Open source code cloud multiplies

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PHP has come to VMware's Cloud Foundry project, an effort to create a standard open source platform for building "developer clouds".

On Thursday, a Portland, Oregon startup known as AppFog open sourced code that allows PHP applications atop VMware's platform. Previously, Cloud Foundry was limited to Java, other JVM frameworks, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, and Node.js.

AppFog also unveiled a beta online service that runs atop the new code. The company has long offered its own PHP-based "developer cloud" or "platform cloud" – a service for building, deploying, and readily scaling applications – but it plans to replace this existing service with its Cloud Foundry creation, and later to build additional services using VMware's code.

In April, with a post to the Cloud Foundry forums, AppFog founder and CEO Lucas Carlson indicated that his company was building a PHP addition to the VMware platform, and he tells The Register that his eight-person outfit spent the last "few months" on the project.

In essence, AppFog has built a GitHub "pull request" that lets developers deploy their applications to services underpinned by VMware's platform. Today, AppFog added the code to the existing open source project, which carries an Apache license.

AppFog was formerly known as PHP Fog. It dropped the space for unknown reasons, but it dropped the PHP because it intends to expand into other languages, including Java, Ruby, .NET, and Node.js. All these services will use the Cloud Foundry code base. VMware open sourced the project in an effort to spawn an army of services compatible with its own Cloud Foundry service, and PHP Fog AppFog has gladly joined the revolution.

Built atop Amazon EC2, AppFog's new Cloud Foundry-based PHP service is now available at www.appfog.com. Outside of VMware's own service – served up at CloundFoundry.com – this appears to be the first public service based on the Cloud Foundry code.

According to Carlson, the code provides the middle layer of the new AppFog stack. The company built a user-interface layer atop Cloud Foundry, and a layer beneath it that interfaces with Amazon EC2 – an "infrastructure cloud" that provides raw computing resources such as processing power and storage.

"Cloud Foundry provides an application-life-cycle management layer, and it does that really well," Carlson says. "Then we provide the experience the user has when interacting with the platform, but we also tie you into Amazon's services."

In adopting Cloud Foundry, AppFog will allow developers to move their applications between its service and other Cloud Foundry services, including the VMware mothership, but Carlson acknowledges that if you use certain tools on AppFog, your application may not translate directly to a third-party Cloud Foundry services.

According to AppFog, about 20,000 developers have used AppFog's existing PHP service to deploy about 10,000 application atop the platform. ®

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