Mike Willbanks has a new post to his blog about a different sort of technique for deploying PHP - building your own RPMs instead of just using the pre-packaged ones. This opens up a whole world of customization options.
In the PHP world, one might ask why not just build it from source? Well, an RPM IS built from source and then distributed to many servers - we can ensure that we have the same packages on each, we can maintain the same versions and if you've read my previous post on Pirum you will know that I also like mirroring PEAR packages.
He walks you through the structure of an RPM package (the spec file, with examples, and the source), the "%prep", "%build" and "%install" containers as well as where the source needs to live for things to work correctly.