Zend Technologies Inc.s announcement earlier this week that it has released a major upgrade of its front-line product, Zend Platform, was welcome news for thousands of PHP developers around the world.
It was also welcome news for Oracle Corp. and its own development community, which has invested a lot of time, money and effort in getting up to speed in the PHP world during the past six months.
Oracle and Zend announced a partnership last May to develop a custom production version of Zend Platform Core for Oracle, one that included a new PHP driver, OCI8, for Oracle.
The new update, Zend Platform 2, takes PHP Web development to a higher enterprise level, because it features session clustering—a component that handles higher-end workloads in business-critical applications.
"This (new version) is significant in that it allows PHP to play credibly at workloads and in markets that were regarded as out of its realm," open-source industry analyst Stephen OGrady of RedMonk told Ziff Davis Internet. "PHP has had tremendous success with departmental-type workloads, as well as mission-critical tasks in certain arenas, but IT is often reluctant to employ such technologies for high-end workloads if they dont offer features like clustering and provisioning."
Zend Platform Core for Oracle, which includes session clustering, connects Oracles proprietary enterprise database products to open-source PHP Web site-structure code.
PHP is well-established in small and midsize businesses and non-profits as a tool for creating do-it-yourself dynamic Web sites. In the last few years, however, it has developed into a popular alternative/supplement to the Java and .Net application enterprise development platform.
Session clustering makes the PHP story much more compelling.
"Zend Platform 2 is the most comprehensive solution to ensure the best response time of PHP Web applications built on top of the Oracle (10) Database," Richard Rendell, Oracle senior director of product development, told Ziff Davis Internet.
"Platform 2 immediately reports on database performance issues so they can be acted upon before they affect the user experience, enhancing the iterative development model and reducing enterprise application development and support costs," Rendell said.
Large corporate Web sites including Google, Yahoo!, Lufthansa and TradeOnline now utilize PHP extensively within their infrastructures, said Zend Vice President of Business Development Michael Pinette, who supervised the Oracle partnership.
"Platform 2 improves the linkage between the PHP environment and the Oracle database," Pinette said.
Zend provides support for Zend Core for Oracle via the Zend Network, a service and support system delivering updates and support to PHP developers.
The beta version of Zend Core for Oracle is a free, downloadable offering. The full production version will be out by the end of the month, Oracle said. Zend sells supplemental support services and tools.