Zeus 4.0 Enters Web Server Pantheon

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2001-11-19

Zeus 4.0 Enters Web Server Pantheon

Zeus Web Server 4.0 provides welcome new features for site administrators and Web developers, with improved management and monitoring tools and much better support for several popular dynamic Web languages.

Zeus Web Server has built its reputation on blistering performance in large tests such as SpecWeb99 and on its ability to run well in large hosted environments. The server also runs on nearly every operating system except for Windows.

Zeus Technology Ltd.s new release, the first major new version of the Web server in three years, gains more administration options that bring it into line with enterprise competitors such as iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions iPlanet Web Server, while its improved development features reinforce its position as a high-end upgrade for sites running the Apache Software Foundation Inc.s open-source Apache Web server.

Zeus Web Server 4.0, which was released last month, is priced at $1,700 for up to two CPUs. This pricing is similar to competitors such as iPlanet—although options such as Apache or Microsoft Corp.s Internet Information Services are free. Sites that dont have high-end needs will probably be happy sticking with these free options.

Among the new features for developers is improved native support for JSP (JavaServer Pages). However, the main improvement that Zeus has been touting is its support and performance for running dynamic content built using PHP, with claims of 45 percent performance gains over mod_php in Apache.

A Better PHP

A Better PHP

Zeus Web Server 4.0 now lets sites run PHP through FastCGI, a much better option than the often-problematic, ISAPI-based implementation of PHP that Zeus used previously. In eWeek Labs tests, which we performed using RadView Software Ltd.s WebLoad 5.0, we did see improved performance, especially over the ISAPI-based PHP.

In comparison with Apache 1.39 with mod_php, we saw the performance improve by almost 50 percent, especially when comparing total throughput and pages per second. All tests were run on identical systems with Red Hat Inc.s RedHat Linux 7.1 installed.

Zeus can also run in conjunction with Zend Technologies Ltd.s Accelerator, which should increase PHP performance even more. Sites not looking to upgrade to Zeus Web Server should also keep in mind that it is possible to run FastCGI-based PHP on Apache. Information on this can be found at www.fastcgi.com. In tests using this configuration, we saw improved performance for Apache but not up to the same level as Zeus when running PHP.

Setting up the FastCGI and PHP took a little work, and a link on the Zeus support site took us to the wrong version of the FastCGI development kit.

The browser-based administration interface for the Zeus Web Server has always been functional, if a little bare-bones, with confusion about where some settings would be configured. Version 4.0 has greatly improved this area, including an intuitive interface that makes it possible to see a servers configuration at a glance.

Zeus has also added some very good reporting and real-time monitoring tools, features that competitors such as iPlanet have had for many years. Using these tools, we could easily check to see the load on our server and check usage statistics.

Zeus has also improved its already superb support for multiple languages, making it well suited for developers and users in non-English- speaking companies.

East Coast Technical Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.

Zeus Web Server 4


Zeus Web Server 4.0


Zeus updated Web Server includes welcome new features that make the high-performance Web server an attractive alternative to free and enterprise-class competitors alike. Sites looking for a server to meet high-end server farm or performance needs will want to evaluate the Zeus platform.

SHORT-TERM BUSINESS IMPACT // Sites interested in deploying Zeus 4.0 should evaluate it first to see if it will deliver significant performance gains, especially for PHP and JSP.

LONG-TERM BUSINESS IMPACT // Zeus Web Server 4.0s scalability will accommodate future site growth, and its security and manageability will continue to give it the edge over free Web server options.

PROS: Excellent performance running PHP applications; broad support for Web development languages; much improved management features.

CONS: Some problems installing FastCGI PHP support; doesnt run on Windows platforms.

Zeus Technology Ltd., Santa Clara, Calif.; (408) 350-9400; www.zeus.com

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