The Pantheon is an ancient temple to the gods, who ruled from the clouds above. So, it’s fitting that Pantheon is the name of a company that provides a platform in the cloud where developers can worship Drupal, the open source web content management system. A platform that the company said this week, is getting over one billion hits a month.  

Pantheon said that, over the nine months of its corporate existence, thousands of Web development firms and client companies have chosen to run their Drupal websites usingits software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

Apollo, the Dashboard

The Drupal SaaS model is also utilized by Lullabot’s Buzzr, which is focused toward small businesses, professionals, small non-profits and small retailers. Launched in March 2011, it offers pre-configured templates, called Quick Starts, that are based on the needs of certain verticals and professions.

Similarly, Drupal Gardens is Acquia’s SaaS offering, and it also launched in March of 2011. Like Buzzr, Drupal Gardens uses the easy-to-use WordPress hosted environment as a model for companies that do not want to install and maintain Drupal themselves.

Pantheon CEO Zack Rosen noted in a statement that his company created the platform "to liberate developers and companies from having to buy, run and manage servers in order to bring their ideas to the Web.” He described the platform’s traffic after only a few months as an “important milestone.”

To assist developers and administrators in deploying sites, creating staging and testing environments and managing code environments, Pantheon is unveiling a new browser-based Dashboard called, appropriately enough, Apollo.

Separate Dev, Test, Live

Existing Drupal sites can be imported into Pantheon and managed from the Dashboard. There are separate Dev, Test and Live environments as well as version control, automatic backups and monitoring of actively running tasks.

Learning Opportunities

Pantheon said that, with its platform, developers no longer need to secretly dread the possibility of traffic spikes for a client, waste time setting up dev environments or deployment tools, or spend hours updating Drupal.

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The company cited the experience of one of its clients, Alley Interactive in New York City. Matt Johnson, managing partner and co-founder, said that before switching to Panethon, his company’s developers “spent too many resources on operating things like site performance, server management, edge infrastructure,” and the other setup and maintenance tasks needed to run an up-to-date website.

Looks like you have a few options if you want a cloud-based Drupal site.