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Red Hatters seal chumship with Zend on OpenShift PHP cloud

Now you can Zend it like Beckham

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Red Hat is still only previewing its OpenShift platform cloud, and one of the reasons why is because it had not yet inked a deal with Zend Technologies, the commercial entity that is to the PHP programming language as Linux Torvalds and Red Hat together are to the Linux operating system.

But that is all going to be fixed now that Red Hat has inked a partnership with Zend, which will see the two companies collaborate on getting the OpenShift cloud geared up to run the commercial-grade PHP engine, called Zend Server, from Zend as well as make OpenShift a destination platform for PHP applications coded by developers using Zend Studio, the Eclipse-based integrated development environment that has some proprietary goodies in it.

Under the deal inked between the two, Zend Server will be available on the hosted version of the OpenShift platform cloud through a one-click install, much as it is available for installation from the Amazon Marketplace for Amazon's AWS infrastructure cloud. Red Hat and Zend are talking up the enterprise-grade support that comes with Zend Server as well as data caching, job queuing for parallel PHP execution, and bytecode acceleration that Zend has put into its PHP runtime and that are not available with the open source implementation of PHP (like the one distributed by Red Hat in its Enterprise Linux distro). The OpenShift APIs have been integrated into Zend Server itself, allowing for Red Hat's platform cloud to manage the Zend engine and for the Zend engine to reach back out to OpenShift when it needs resources.

Similarly, Zend Studio, the IDE that Zend peddles to PHP shops, now knows how to speak fluent OpenShift.

"Everything that you can do inside of OpenShift at the command line you can do from inside of Zend Studio," Jimmy Guerrero, marketing honcho for OpenShift products at Red Hat, tells El Reg.

Having developed PHP applications, you can deploy them to the OpenShift platform cloud and debug them while they are running in that cloud from inside Zend Studio.

The OpenShift platform cloud was announced in May 2011 as a reaction to the growing popularity of Microsoft's Azure and Google's App Engine platform clouds. In August of that year, while OpenShift was still in tech preview, Red Hat rolled its own JBoss Java stack out onto OpenShift, and in April of this year, the Hatters took the OpenShift platform cloud layer open source as the OpenShift Origin project.

In June, Red Hat rejigged the manner in which OpenShift was going to come to market, with FreeShift (the freebie hosted version with limited capacity) that is available now but has no service level agreements and the commercial-grade MetaShift, which is in beta and which is expected to be available with SLAs in early 2013, along with a private version of the OpenShift stack that you can install inside your own data center.

Red Hat supports Node.js, Ruby, and Python in addition to Java and now PHP on its OpenShift platform cloud, and at the moment it is content to provide support for all of these excepting PHP by itself. Red Hat could ink a deal with Joyent for supporting Node.js and with Engine Yard for Ruby, but the company would no doubt argue that it has as many people who are familiar with Node.js and Ruby as might be found in those organizations. As for Python, it does not have the same commercial backing as PHP, which was invented to make money as well as to become crazy popular as a web programming language.

OpenShift supports Zend Server 5.6, and you need Zend Studio 9.04 to talk to OpenShift. ®

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