…and now for something completely different. Let’s talk about clouds and fabrics.

Here at DevZone, we normally “lose” the emails sent to us asking us to post press releases. This being a blog aimed at developers, press releases aren’t the kind of content we are looking to post. I am going to break this rule today though and discuss some news that came out yesterday that I actually think is important. Note that I do this of my own free will, not having been coerced by the Zend Marketing team at all. :)

Yesterday several news outlets released the news that Zend has joined the Amazon Marketplace and you can now access the Zend App Fabric on a pay-as-you-go basis. Basically, you can now spin up and down instances EC2 with Zend App Fabric without having to purchase separate licenses for each instance. You will be billed for the time you use both EC2 and the Zend App Fabric.

After looking at several of the releases, this is the one I liked the best. WARNING, it is still full of buzzwords and market-speak; developers may want to get someone from marketing to translate. Zend Builds on Relationship with Amazon Web Services, Makes Zend Application Fabric Available Through AWS Marketplace

Here is the obligatory excerpt.

With Zend Application Fabric, enterprises can harness the agility of PHP to quickly and cost-effectively deliver quality web applications on the AWS cloud. Zend Application Fabric benefits PHP applications by providing a dependable, scalable runtime environment. It also provides application monitoring and built-in diagnostics that let developers quickly identify and troubleshoot issues without spending time guessing at root cause and attempting to recreate production problems, and comes with full support from Zend, the PHP Company.

After consulting with more than one marketing person, I found that this translates into “If you use PHP and deploy on EC2, you can now use Zend Server and all its goodies.”

Why do I think that this is important? If you look at where things are headed, this is one more step towards a fully cloud-enabled development process. Now you can develop your applications on phpcloud.com (and if you haven’t started playing with phpcloud.com, you really need to. It has changed the way I look at development more than any tool I’ve played with since Virtual Machines) Once you have code ready to push to production, you can now deploy totally to the cloud as well. phpcloud.com gives you a full instance of Zend Server. You have all the tools that come built into it to use in building your application. Now you can carry those tools with you to EC2 instances, on-demand. I have been developing software for longer than I like to admin and I’ve seen some interesting tools come and go. The Zend App Fabric however is one of the few that strike me as game changers.

Since this isn’t a sales blog but a developer blog, I’ll finish by proving that I have not gone over to the dark side and am not just trying to shill with this post. Send me an @ message on twitter (@calevans)and I’ll give you access to phpcloud.com so you can see for yourself. Maybe it won’t change things at all; maybe it will change development as we know it. Either way, I’d like you to play with it and tell me what you think.