Zend Says DBi is Very Close to General Availability
April 3, 2012 Alex Woodie
Zend Technology is about two weeks away from announcing the general availability of DBi, its drop-in replacement for the MySQL database running on the IBM i, which is important for running PHP apps on the platform. The company had expected to ship the software months ago. But an extra round of testing was done to ensure that the much-anticipated product would work as advertised.
DBi is the result of a collaboration between Zend and IBM to address the problem created when Oracle dropped MySQL support for the IBM i OS in late 2010. MySQL support on the IBM i platform is critical because many, if not most, of the pre-packed PHP apps on the market, such as SugarCRM, are designed to work with MySQL.
Zend officially unveiled DBi about six months ago, with expectations that it could ship by the end of 2011. Since MySQL is an open source product, anybody can redistribute its source code, which is what Zend plans to do with DBi.
The MySQL-like database was originally scheduled to ship with Zend Server version 5.6, which was released in early January, but it wasn’t quite ready. At that time, Zend officials said a round of beta testing wouldn’t be necessary because DBi would be so similar to the current release of MySQL compiled for IBM i. But when Zend issued a “technology preview” of DBi in February, it was clear that the DBi development effort was taking just a bit longer than the company had first anticipated.
The delay in shipping DBi has not had anything to do with functionality, stability, or reliability problems, says Zend director of product management Kent Mitchell. Instead, the delay has to do with how DBi is installed on IBM i, he says.
Zend has created a different installation routine than the one used by Oracle, and there were a few kinks to be worked out. Getting customers to test the new installation routine was the best way to iron out any difficulties, he says.
“This was a good decision as the feedback from the technology preview uncovered a few small setup issues in some older configurations, which we have since taken the opportunity to fix,” Mitchell says in an email. “Also, we took advantage of the learning to add the ability to upgrade existing MySQL implementations on IBM i.”
Mitchell says that, in the early version of DBi, customers looking to update their MySQL stack were faced with an “export-rip and replace-import” process that was time consuming and difficult for some people. “The installer on Zend DBi will now give the user the ability to select a clean install or upgrade in minutes, which will help companies stay current as new features becomes available in the MySQL code base.”
DBi, has passed all regression tests, and the GA announcement is expected within two weeks, Mitchell said last week.