Engine Yard will announce today that it has acquired the PHP platform-as-a-service provider Orchestra, which just launched last March. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Orchestra was founded by employees from the development firm Echolibre and provides a service similar to Engine Yard’s own Ruby on Rails PaaS.
Engine Yard CEO John Dillon cited the Orchestra team’s deep expertise in PHP as the reason for acquiring Orchestra instead of another PHP PaaS such as PHPFog, or building a PHP platform in-house. The team has extensive experience developing and scaling PHP applications, and its developers have contributed to the core PHP Project and the popular PEAR libraries.
Engine Yard has a similar history–the company started out as a Ruby on Rails development firm, and eventually launched a PaaS. Engine Yard is a contributor to open source Ruby projects such as Rubinius and JRuby. Dillon emphasizes that the company’s commitment to both Ruby and open source has not changed.
Dillon says Engine Yard decided to expand into PHP first because many of its customers already use both Ruby and PHP. He also says that there’s much overlap between the PHP and Rails stacks. “Much of the work is actually in orchestrating (no pun intended) the components that make developers’ lives easier,” he said. “Much of the work is generic across language stacks. Some of it is language specific, but there is a lot that isn’t.”
Engine Yard will keep the Orchestra brand for the PHP service, Dillon says, but it will also use Orchestra’s Dublin offices for its European expansion. Echolibre’s consulting services are being “wound down.”
Dillon suggests that in a few years most remaining PaaSes will support multiple languages, and we’re already seeing movement in that direction. We’re slowly seeing the PaaS market consolidate. It began last December with Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Heroku and Red Hat’s acquisition of Markara (which now part of its OpenShift project). Earlier this year DotCloud merged with DuoStack.
Meanwhile, VMware launched its own PaaS (Cloud Foundry) that supports several languages, and Red Hat is moving in a similar direction with OpenShift. Heroku is slowly expanding its language support with Node.js and Clojure.
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