AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Providing a Leading PHP Platform on AWS Marketplace – Zend Technologies, an Advanced APN Technology Partner

PHP is a scripting language designed for web and mobile development, allowing static webpages to become dynamic, interactive, and personalized. AWS offers a number of resources to help developers develop secure, reliable, and scalable PHP applications on the AWS cloud. In addition to the resources, tools, and documentation we provide, Zend Technologies, an Advanced APN Technology Partner, provides an enterprise-grade application platform for PHP through AWS Marketplace.

About Zend

Zend’s roots in the PHP community are very deep—the company’s founders were two of the original authors of PHP—and Zend leverages its PHP expertise to deliver a robust, scalable, and high performing environment that ensures businesses of all sizes can innovate fast and reliably. Zend products have already been used to develop and run thousands of PHP business-critical applications worldwide. An APN Partner since 2012, Zend offers its Zend Server solution on AWS through AWS Marketplace.

Drivers to the AWS Cloud

General trends toward the cloud in application development, along with customer demand, drove the Zend team to build on AWS. “Nearly all new application development is cloud-first; and Zend was an early adopter of cloud-first strategies,” explains Amy Anderson, Zend Director of Business Development. Zend’s customer base, which is focused on agile development and continuous delivery, has been naturally inclined toward the cloud, and the team recognized working with AWS as the most effective way to monetize its cloud offerings.

“AWS makes it so easy for developers to access and use Zend Server,” Anderson says. “From the citizen developer to the corporate development department, AWS lets developers consume exactly what they need. We see developers start with very small development images, which is cost effective. And we also see large organizations running huge clusters that would be impractical in an on-premises environment.”

Zend Server on AWS

Zend Server is a complete PHP distribution that also includes value-add features designed to optimize productivity, performance, scalability and reliability. Z-Ray, for example, gives developers real-time insights into how their code is performing and how it’s using systems resources—including AWS resources. Zend Server includes over 80 PHP extensions and supports Apache.

Zend Server on AWS lets organizations scale their applications to meet aggressive growth goals. Applications can get a performance boost with an integrated set of technologies that enables caching of data and code, job queues for asynchronous or offline processing of tasks, job scheduling to improve response and reduce server load, and dynamic cluster configuration.

Zend Server leverages AWS CloudFormation to enable customers to easily scale Zend Server on AWS.  Zend’s clustering technology is integrated with AWS clustering, ensuring that every workload is optimized for the available resources.

How Can APN Partners Work with Zend Server?

Anderson highlighted some of the ways in which fellow APN Partners can use Zend Server to support their end customers, explaining, “APN Partners who are delivering business-critical web and mobile applications, such as e-commerce, can benefit from the performance, scaling, and compliance features of Zend Server. For example, any vendor who wants the ability to deliver applications faster should consider Z-Ray, a technology in Zend Server that gives developers real-time insights into the quality and performance of their code.”

Zend Server and AWS can also help APN Partners react faster to security vulnerabilities. In one case, an MSP that supports hundreds of SMBs had several commerce sites hacked.  It took the MSP two weeks to patch the sites running open source PHP in a hosted environment, while it only took two days to patch the sites running Zend Server on AWS.  “Because Zend Server and AWS both increase the levels of automation, businesses can react faster to a changing environment,” Anderson says. “This is especially critical with commerce security.”

The Benefits of Working with AWS and AWS Marketplace

Zend’s AWS business grew by 3X in 2014, and the company is targeting 5X growth in 2015. A key driver of the company’s growth is AWS Marketplace. “We’re heavily dependent on the AWS Marketplace to market and deliver our cloud offerings. AWS Marketplace helps drive revenue for us. We’ve benefited from being featured on the Marketplace homepage banner and in the featured products section,” says Anderson.

From AWS Marketplace, customers can choose from three different editions of Zend Server: Developer, Professional, or Enterprise.  Each edition is available on both Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux. Once the customer selects their edition and Linux distribution, they can choose from a variety of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types on AWS, from the t2.micro to the c2.2xl. “AWS Marketplace gives customers the ability to select exactly what they want, and it presents the options in a logical way,” Anderson says.

A big benefit of offering its solutions on AWS Marketplace is the ability for Zend to support a broad range of customer use cases and customer sizes. “Because of the very small instance types available on AWS, we can offer our product to a broad number of very small customers,” explained Anderson “At the same time, the scalability of AWS clustering allows our largest customers to run configurations that were practically not feasible in an on-premise environment.”

Another common use case for Zend Server on AWS is customers who need to run a supported version of PHP 5.3. Currently the open source PHP community supports versions 5.4, 5.5., and 5.6.  But for a variety of reasons, many customers are still running applications that use PHP 5.3.  Zend is the only company to provide long-term support for PHP 5.3 at this time.  “If you have a production application that uses PHP 5.3, you’re taking a big risk if you’re not under support,” says Anderson.  “One of the easiest ways to run a supported, scalable environment for PHP 5.3 is to set up Zend Server through AWS Marketplace.”

Looking Forward

Zend has been investing in technologies that fuel the API economy and mobile applications for the enterprise, such as its Apigility offering.  “We’re looking forward to using AWS to help more enterprise customers achieve their business objectives in the areas of mobile app development,” Anderson says.

“We’ve been extremely pleased with our relationship with AWS,” she continues.  “And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”