Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

StartupWatch: Engine Yard Moves Beyond Rails To PHP

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 30, 2011

It's always a pleasure to catch up with John Dillon, CEO of Engine Yard because he's a Silicon Valley veteran and that gives him a perspective into trends and key issues that less experienced managers lack.

At Engine Yard, he's smack dab in the middle of some of the most innovative software developments because his company's platform as a service, helps businesses to quickly develop and deploy applications built from Ruby on Rails. It's harnessing the power of the cloud to quickly produce and deploy advanced applications at a fraction of their former cost.

"Companies are now able to develop applications just for one use, they can be disposable. But also, quick deployment means that they can see what works and what doesn't. It's all innovation."

Corporate departments can now commission apps and use Engine Yard to deploy those apps without having to engage their data center IT staff, who are usually too busy on other projects, or maintaining existing software.

Ruby on Rails has become the language of choice for many developers because it has shown to be scalable and has been successfully used in some large corporate development projects and large consumer web services. And so the demand for Ruby on Rails specialists is soaring. Mr Dillon points out that in San Francisco, there are some 700 unfilled Ruby on Rails jobs.

But despite the popularity of Rails Mr Dillion believes there's a strong future for PHP to become a strong Rails competitor. Which is why the company recently acquired Irish startup Orchestra, because the same technologies that support its Ruby on Rails customers can be used to support PHP development.

Despite the shortage of Rails engineers in San Francisco, Mr Dillon says this is not a constraint on demand for Engine Yard services and that growth has been very strong. The company has relationships with several hundred developers that can be hired for development jobs. Also, other areas of the US don't have such intense demand, such as Portland, Oregon, where Engine Yard has connections and where there is less competition for engineers.


At Engine Yard, he's smack dab in the middle of some of the most innovative software developments because his company's platform as a service, helps businesses to quickly develop and deploy applications built from Ruby on Rails. It's harnessing the power of the cloud to quickly produce and deploy advanced applications at a fraction of their former cost.

"Companies are now able to develop applications just for one use, they can be disposable. But also, quick deployment means that they can see what works and what doesn't. It's all innovation."

Corporate departments can now commission apps and use Engine Yard to deploy those apps without having to engage their data center IT staff, who are usually too busy on other projects, or maintaining existing software.

Ruby on Rails has become the language of choice for many developers because it has shown to be scalable and has been successfully used in some large corporate development projects and large consumer web services. And so the demand for Ruby on Rails specialists is soaring. Mr Dillon points out that in San Francisco, there are some 700 unfilled Ruby on Rails jobs.

But despite the popularity of Rails Mr Dillion believes there's a strong future for PHP to become a strong Rails competitor. Which is why the company recently acquired Irish startup Orchestra, because the same technologies that support its Ruby on Rails customers can be used to support PHP development.

Despite the shortage of Rails engineers in San Francisco, Mr Dillon says this is not a constraint on demand for Engine Yard services and that growth has been very strong. The company has relationships several hundred developers that can be hired for development jobs. Also, other areas of the US don't have such intense demand, such as Portland, Oregon, and there is less competition for engineers.


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