Zend PHP Gets More Native with i 7.1
May 10, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The i in iSeries, System i, and i 6.1/7.1 is supposed to stand for integration. And as IT Jungle reported with the launch of Zend Server concurrent with the i 7.1 launch on April 13, the new Zend Server, which replaces Zend Core for i, is a more native implementation of the Zend Engine for running PHP applications. A welcome change and one that should make it easier for PHP applications to be administered on Power Systems i boxes.
The change seems minor, but it means that OS/400 and i shops will not have to be mucking around with two different Apache Web servers on their machines. Here’s the original way that Zend Core was implemented on the OS/400 and i operating systems:
As you can see, not only did Zend run in the PASE AIX runtime environment along with PHP programs, but so did an AIX implementation of the Apache Web server and the PHP Apache module, which was linked by a reverse proxy to the native Apache Web server for i, which IBM calls the IBM HTTP Server for i (like it is still 1995 and we don’t know it is Apache). This reverse proxy link was alright, but the new way, shown below, is better:
Now, the native Web server on the i box is doing the Web serving not just for the i side of the house, but also for the PHP applications. Now, native CGI jobs can use the FastCGI method to link the Zend Engine and its PHP applications directly to the native Apache Web server on the i boxes. FastCGI is a standard, and the reverse proxy was a bit of a kluge, and FastCGI links between Zend and the native Apache Web server will also offer “dramatic performance improvement” over the PASE CGI method previously employed. IBM and Zend Technologies have not said how much of a boost yet, but we’ll be looking into it for you.