Zend, the commercial company behind the popular scripting language PHP, announced today, it was launching a PHP development service in the AWS marketplace, effectively making it a Platform as a Service inside the Amazon infrastructure cloud.
While PHP is an open source project, Zend was launched in 1999 by some early developers to create a commercial arm. Just last month, the company released Zend Server 7 with Z-Ray, a feature they say helps coders as they create a project by giving them insight into the quality of the code.
Zend is bringing this same technology to AWS, so instead of having to buy, download and install it, you can jump onto AWS and begin developing a project and pay as you go in the cloud. The AWS offering actually consists of two products, a developer solution where you build the application or service and a production site where you deliver it.
Andi Gutmans, one of the early developers of PHP, who is co-founder and CEO at Zend says he has been contributing to the project since 1997 and such popular services as Facebook, WordPress, Drupal and SugarCRM are built on PHP.
He says they have evolved the platform over the years to deal with changing requirements like mobile and the cloud and the AWS partnership makes sense for developers because it gives them flexibility they might be lacking in a more traditional development environment.
“For us, we see the cloud as a critical enabler to continuous delivery. It lets you automate and deliver a high level of agility.” What he means is that the cloud makes it simple to get to a high level of automation and pay as you go gives developers agility in terms of delivery.
Gutmans says his products has been designed to work on multiple cloud platforms including IBM’s cloud, but he believes that Amazon now understands that to compete in an increasingly heated market place, it needs to build an ISV-type ecosystem in the cloud.
“AWS wants to build a sustained ISV ecosystem just like Microsoft did [in the 90s] to continue growing and I believe we can attract a large part of the PHP development community to the cloud using our technology,” Gutmans said. And he added, “We represent largest web development community in the market.”
The developer price is just pennies on the hour, and all three editions of Zend Server 7 on AWS Marketplace are available for free for 30 days free (although AWS usage fees are additional). After the free period ends, the Developer Edition starts at just $0.03/hr. The more sophisticated Professional and Enterprise Editions run $0.04/hr and $0.06/hr respectively.
So the question is how do they make money when a developer can be cranking code for around $.40 or $.50 a day? The answer, says Gutmans, is they aren’t really hoping to make a lot of money on the development side. Once the product crosses over to the production side and people begin to use it, that’s when Zend can begin to see some revenue, and that’s fine with Gutmans who is happy to get as many people on the platform as possible without cost being a factor.
“Our strategic monetization is production workload. Once [a customer] moves into production, then we have production pricing and that’s capacity based.” So in other words, If the customer product gets successful and grows, Zend makes money because pricing is based on usage.
Gutmans says even though Zend can work across a variety of cloud platforms, by integrating into the AWS platform, they give customers access to infrastructure services, as well as the developer and delivery tools. “Now we have Platform as a Service. [Customers] don’t have to think about scale, velocity and performance. It just happens for them.”