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I have been looking for something like heroku but for php, and after much frustration (and almost finding what I need, but not quite) we decided to just go with AWS without any other abstraction.

We are using PHP 5.3 (and CakePHP 1.3), and are currently using git. Ubuntu seems like the easiest way to get both of those on there and we will most likely use that. We aren't really going worry about outgoing email. We are using smtp through gmail, but will most likely switch to some other service eventually.

I had 3 questions:
1) I have been looking at Zend Server, and I am not quite sure how that is more beneficial than xampp. Perhaps it is not?

2) I suppose to make the application scale we would need multiple instances of some ec2 ami. Then just duplicate it and such. The question then becomes how do we make sure all EC2 instances are up to date?

3) I understand the concept of load balancing to some degree. I understand that in 1 region you select a bunch of servers and have it load balance across them. The question then becomes well how about world wide? How do I make it so that traffic is directed to the correct ec2 server? I have heard of route 53, and tried signing up for that, but nothing appears in my control panel. Also perhaps it is just a DNS thing with my domain registrar?

AHHH... some tutorial would be helpful!

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1, What do you mean more beneficial? Please ask more explicit question.

2, You have plenty options. Use any version control and pull it, generate a new AMI when you have a new update and launch new instance and demolish the old ones, you torrent and distribute you app with that like Facebook or Twitter. The operating system updated are trivial(at least it must be for any Linux distro)

3, You get an elastic IP in every region you would like to be(Europe, SF, Singapore etc.) and setup a GeoDns solution where the answer(IP) to the dns query depends on the source IP of the requester, so somebody from Germany gets the EU IP, somebody from Kansas gets the Virginia one etc. Since elastic load-balancing is not mandatory to use you have plenty of options, like use your on load-balancer solution or reverse-proxy whatever you prefer.

You can contact me if you need more help with this topic.

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