Red Hat, Zend Form OpenShift PaaS Alliance

Linux-using PHP programmers will want to pay attention to the latest news item from Red Hat and Zend. The two companies – the Linux provider and the maker of the popular PHP development and runtime environment – are partnering to expand Red Hat’s OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service offering to PHP.

The two companies unveiled Zend Server for OpenShift, which gives users the best of both worlds. If you’ve developed PHP applications that you want or need to run in the cloud, you should find this new offering particularly helpful. Red Hat emphasized that the Zend Server PHP runtime environment is pre-deployed and ready to go with just one click. This lets developers focus on creating code rather than worry about managing server and software configurations.

The benefits don’t stop there. Zend Server for OpenShift offers built-in data caching and bytecode acceleration, to optimize your code for better performance. Users will also appreciate the job queue; it allows PHP tasks to be performed in parallel, which improves an application’s performance and reduces bottleneck-related issues.

One of the biggest, but most necessary, headaches of programming involves debugging. Tracking down errors in code can take forever – or at least feel like it. Fortunately, Zend Server for OpenShift knows this, and offers advanced debugging in the cloud. Its code tracing capability lets users track down the root causes of an issue without the need to recreate the problem. Developers should find this feature especially helpful when trying to kill those notoriously irritating but intermittent bugs, whose very nature makes them difficult to fix.  

Zend notes that users of Zend Studio will be “able to deploy your code to Zend Server on OpenShift with a single click.” Users of Zend Studio know that it includes a number of advanced productivity features, such as refactoring, code assist and semantic analysis. With the integration with OpenShift, Zend Studio users will gain the advantages of working in the cloud. For example, a team working on an application will find it easier to collaborate using Zend Studio with OpenShift integration.

PHP developers using Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS will appreciate another convenience of its integration with Zend: they’ll be able to debug their PHP applications directly in OpenShift, rather than move them to another environment first. Git and SFTP integration into OpenShift will also make their job a little easier.

It’s important to note that Red Hat OpenShift is a free service for development purposes only. Available since May of last year, the cloud application platform lets users choose from a variety of programming languages, frameworks and tools with which they can build their applications. Supported languages include Node.js, Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl and Java; supported frameworks include Java, EE, Spring, Rails, and now Zend, as well as others. Even so, as Alan Shimel at Network World points out, “right now OpenShift is really an experimental platform. It is free, but not recommended for production environments. It’s more of a test platform.”

Will OpenShift ever become a commercial service? Jimmy Guerrero, director of product marketing for Red Hat’s OpenShift, noted that plans call for this to happen early next year, but would not be more specific. So try it out if you want, and if you like it, here’s hoping that “early next year” means the first quarter, and not the second. And while you’re waiting, be sure to share your experience in the comments section.

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