Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Oracle and Zend deliver Zend Server via Oracle Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN)


Oracle and Zend first announced a partnership in 2005. As part of that partnership we worked on enhancing PHP connectivity to Oracle DB, drove innovation based on customer feedback incl. Oracle’s Database Resident Connection Pooling (DRCP) and delivered an out-of-the-box experience for Oracle customers using Zend’s Web stack.

Zend Server was released 6 months ago as a high-performance, reliable and secure PHP stack. Zend Server delivers an out-of-the-box experience with Oracle DB and supports Linux via native rpm repositories. As a result IT shops can provision and manage Zend Server in exactly the same way they manage Linux.

With today’s announcement we are taking our collaboration with Oracle one step further and are making Zend Server available via Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux Network. There are many reasons why this collaboration is good for our mutual users incl.:

- Oracle Enterprise Linux is freely downloadable and redistributable which means that anyone can easily build a full stack with these technologies and distribute them.

- As Linux vendors typically offer long term support they rarely update their PHP versions. While this approach works (and is typically preferable) for the OS layer it doesn’t really suit the app dev level. With this collaboration we deliver complete Enterprise-grade PHP 5.2 and PHP 5.3 stacks to Oracle users.

- Oracle has very reasonable pricing and a huge, global support organization to deliver on 24/7 support subscriptions.

- It enables us to deliver Enterprise-ready stacks from top to bottom targeting appliances incl. virtualized and cloud environments (and bare metal).                

Wim Coekaerts’, Oracle’s VP of Linux and Virtualization Engineering, has also written about this announcement.

With the rollout of the OEL+Zend Server combo we are looking forward to supporting users on a best in breed LAMP stack.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MySQL can be great for Oracle…

Since the Sun acquisition was announced I continue to get questions on how it will impact MySQL. This seems to be mainly as a result of the close affinity between PHP and MySQL. I must admit that while I had a lot of immediate thoughts when the IBM/Sun rumor was floating around, I have had a bit of a harder time figuring out what the Oracle/Sun acquisition means for the various pieces of Sun's business including MySQL.

Like many I believe that Oracle would not want to kill MySQL and that steering it more towards the SQL Server market as opposed to Oracle DB could make a lot of sense for Oracle. After all, MySQL definitely competes with SQL Server on ease-of-use and some of the mainstream relational DB features, while for the very high-end features, Oracle is still way ahead (Real Application Clusters, Database Resident Connection Pooling, Backup & Recovery, Data Mining, OLAP). But what will it take to steer MySQL towards SQL Server? Invest in better Windows packaging? Improve performance on Windows? Invest in native management UIs? Build a strong Visual Studio plug-in for MySQL? Make .NET-based applications like Dotnetnuke work better with MySQL? I think it means all of the above and probably some additions I didn’t think of. All that said, I have now changed my mind and believe this is not where the big opportunity lies for Oracle although I see it as a strong secondary strategy and believe Oracle is likely to benefit from executing in this direction regardless.

The other assumption I heard from many was that MySQL would be the entry version for Oracle into accounts. But how would that work in real life? Would they over time build Oracle API (OCI) compatibility into MySQL and hope that at some point people will install Oracle, migrate their data from MySQL to Oracle, and rewrite their applications to access Oracle instead of MySQL? This does make some good sense for Oracle especially as it’d give them a chance to build mindshare and awareness among developers for the their brand. However, brand awareness and account foot print is not enough and I believe this simplistic view does not take into account the user experience. For the user there would be too many challenges in having to swap out the database with a new one, do the data migration and port the application from MySQL to Oracle APIs. In fact, it could be such a pain that users would likely prefer to invest time in working around the MySQL limitations at the application layer instead of doing a migration especially if they are in a time sensitive situation (which MySQL users have been doing successfully for years).

A few days ago I finally figured out what I would do if I were Oracle. I would go out and build an Oracle storage engine for MySQL similar to the DB2 for i storage engine MySQL developed with IBM.( Just think of it as using MySQL as a front-end to Oracle and immediately leveraging the eco-system of developers, applications and tools that support MySQL (see Diagram 1 below). I would then continue to push MySQL’s adoption as much as possible and build out the features that will continue to drive broad adoption.

At this point MySQL would tie directly into Oracle and immediately when a customer needs an Enterprise-grade features like clustering, hot-backup, BI, etc. they could just sell their “Oracle DB Infrastructure” which would support MySQL via the Oracle storage engine. The result would be that without changing any application code you would immediately tie into Oracle and then start leveraging some of Oracle’s unique capabilities.

Of course once that happens, Oracle sells another Oracle license, the data sits in Oracle (typically that means it never migrates anywhere else) and over time other applications will likely leverage this data either via the MySQL interface or directly via OCI (Oracle Client Interface).

What is there left to do for Oracle? No need to focus on investing in Enterprise-grade features for MySQL. They just need to make sure that there’s a good Oracle storage engine which enables a click of a button upgrade from MySQL(InnoDB) to MySQL(Oracle). Seamless to the application and the developer. You get the best of both worlds.

This also makes the CIO extremely happy. They would now have the ability to keep business-critical and sensitive data in Oracle while keeping the developers in their organization happy by letting them use MySQL as the front-end.

I believe by making the right investments in MySQL, Oracle can not only grow the MySQL business but also the Oracle DB business. And if played right it may actually enable Oracle to be less aggressive on the business side with the MySQL products which could also make MySQL's customers and community happier.

Disclaimer: I have no bias towards any of these databases and am only stating what I'd do if I were Oracle. In PHP we have great MySQL , Oracle and SQL Server support. We are the corporate Web glue and will always make it easy for our users to leverage their data sources no matter what they are…



What about the additional latency to drive transactions to another database?

While this would likely add some additional overhead to a simple throughput benchmark I believe in real-world scalability scenarios some of Oracle's solutions like RAC, TimesTen in-memory DB, connection pooling, etc. would potentially address some common objections. But then again I am not a DB engineer so I may be completely wrong.


And what happens with Falcon?

Now Oracle owns MySQL and InnoDB there's no need for it anymore.


And what about the Open Database Alliance (

That may be some nuisance for Oracle but as it would be "open" the Oracle storage engine could work with that too and as stated previously such a strategy may actually enable Oracle to be more community focused than Sun and MySQL AB.


Diagram 1:


Friday, April 03, 2009

Adobe looking for developers to join early access program for Flex Builder

Guest post from my friends at Adobe:

Adobe is currently building the next generation of Flex Builder, the Eclipse based IDE for creating cross-platform rich Internet applications.  In this upcoming version, a significant new set of features are being introduced to accelerate creation of data-centric applications with PHP on the server-side leveraging Zend Framework and Zend AMF.  Prior to the public Beta later in the year, Adobe would like to invite a select group of PHP developers into a private pre-release program for Flex Builder. You'll get to work with the new data-centric development features, interact with members of the product team, provide feedback, and generally help shape the future of the product.  No prior experience with Flex is necessary; in fact feedback from new users would be particularly helpful.  There is a brief survey here - please complete it and Adobe will send an invitation to you shortly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inside Zend Server: Linux Take 2 - Examples

In my previous Zend Server post I mentioned how cool the native integration into Linux was. Let's be real. How many vendors do you know who go out of their way to not deliver a custom installer or monolithic rpm/deb package but actually build native rpm/deb repositories for the various distros? Call us crazy but our goal was to make this the best possible, most integrated experience for our users and we were willing to work very hard for that.

Below are some screenshots of a Fedora update process which shows the tight integration (click on picture for reasonable quality).

1) Open update manager:


2) Show available updates:


3) Review the updates:


4) Apply the updates:


5) Completed:


Slick! Just like you're used to from your distribution.

Oh and here's a screenshot of Synaptic for the Debian users:



Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Inside Zend Server: Linux


In my previous “Inside Zend Server” post I wrote about Zend Server’s significant differentiation on the Windows platform. Although Windows is the most popular development platform for PHP it has by far less footprint in production compared to Linux.

The majority of our customers run PHP on Linux - most of them on Redhat variants. Therefore, it was critical for us to deliver the best possible experience for Zend Server on Linux. In order to show our commitment to Linux we made a strategic decision and decided to release the product in the de-facto, native format for Linux installations so that Zend Server fits into the Linux distributions like a glove.

The advantages that led to this decision were many, to name just a few:

- Using the native installation method means users can install Zend Server just as they would any other software from the distribution's repository. This allows users to utilize the tools they are accustomed to, be it yum, aptitude, synaptic or Kpackage; any tool that supports the DEB or RPM formats will work for the purpose of installing Zend Server.

- Any automation tools used for RPM or DEB installation purposes will work equally well, thus saving the user manual labor and integrating into company’s deployment infrastructures. This also includes making it easy to integrate into solutions like Virtuozzo (we have worked on creating Virtuozzo Templates for Zend Server).

- PHP and Zend Server require many third party libraries in order to work properly. Thanks to the RPM and DEB package managers we are able to leverage an easy way to declare dependencies and use packages officially tested by the distribution as opposed to bundling them. This means Zend Server works consistently with the operating system’s libraries and also benefits from security fixes the distros send out for these 3rd parties.

- Last but not least, the ability to receive Zend hot fixes via the standard OS mechanism means that updates are easier to detect, to manage, to log and to install.

Zend Server on Linux also includes support for PEAR and PECL (and phpize). For example, installing the PEAR package phpDocumentor is as easy as doing /usr/local/zend/bin/pear install PhpDocumentor. Support for PECL enables you to automatically download and build PHP extensions, e.g. you can install ncurses by just running /usr/local/zend/bin/pecl install ncurses. Sweet!

Another feature which is unique to Zend Server on Linux (commercial version only) is Zend Download Server (ZDS). ZDS is capable of offloading the process of sending large files from Apache, freeing it to handle the more complicated PHP-based requests. While one can accomplish similar results with lighttpd and X-Sendfile: the big advantage of ZDS is that it plugs right into multi-process Apache. It is able to take over serving certain file types automatically and serve specific files via a PHP API extremely efficiently and at the same time free up Apache to serve PHP requests. For sites which serve large files this can deliver a significantly more scalable setup and enables the user to better utilize system resources. All of this under the most common setup – multi-process Apache.

Besides that there are just lots of little things we did to make sure this is the best Linux experience; we do significant performance and stress tests on various Linux distributions, we offer a tar download for the Community Edition, we have Linux optimized watchdogs for our daemons, Optimizer+ our acceleration component has been optimized on Linux, and a lot more...

I have no doubt that Linux users will find Zend Server a very refreshing experience. I can assure you that there are very few commercial solutions which have this level of integration with Linux distributions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Inside Zend Server: Windows


Inside Zend Server is a series of blog posts which I intend to write on Zend Server (time permitted). As I pointed out in my previous post on Zend Server there are a lot of different constituencies that Zend Server applies to. In this post I will focus on developers and system administrators who are using Windows either for developing or running PHP–based Web applications.

Running high-performance and stable PHP on Windows has always been a serious challenge. So much of a challenge that in 2004 we announced a Zend product called “Zend WinEnabler” which had the sole purpose of delivering stable PHP on Windows. As part of building that product we built a FastCGI plug-in for IIS and Apache, ported our byte-code cache to Windows, and invested considerably into delivering a good experience on Windows. The product was later on streamlined into the Zend Core and Zend Platform offering on Windows. While the stability and performance of these product lines was exponentially better than anything that had existed on Windows before there was still a considerable gap compared to other OSes.

In 2006, Microsoft and Zend announced a technical collaboration to improve the experience of PHP on Windows. As part of this collaboration some of the main accomplishments included Microsoft’s team delivering a FastCGI component for IIS, we worked on performance enhancements to PHP itself, and made additional investments in making sure PHP is a first-class citizen on Windows incl. Microsoft delivering the SQL Server for PHP extension.

Not only have we leveraged all this work in Zend Server but we have put a very big emphasis on making sure it is absolutely the best PHP production environment for Windows.

Also to be clear, the Zend Server Community Edition is not only meant to be useful to developers but also for production. For example, if you want to run a departmental Wiki in production and you don’t care about critical bug and security hot fixes, monitoring, page caching, support, etc. you are still getting production quality bits, native IIS support, a very fast byte-code cache (which we now for the first time include for free) and lots more. Bottom line, you will get performance on Windows better than anything you’ve ever run also with Zend Server Community Edition and not only with Zend Server.

Some of the main Windows-specific benefits you will experience with Zend Server:

- Native MSI installation following Microsoft best practices (constantly reviewed with the MS certification tool). In addition our MSI supports unattended installation for easy mass deployment.

- Native MSI-based hot fixes. This means unlike Zend Core which was using our homegrown update mechanism you will see applied fixes in “Add or Remove Programs” and for regular hot fixes you will be able to use the standard Windows rollback mechanism.

- Automatically enable and configure the Microsoft FastCGI extension on XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008.

- For Apache users install and enable Zend’s FastCGI extension for best performance and reliability.

- Install SQL Server for PHP extension for out-of-the-box connectivity. Also support MySQL, Oracle, DB2, SQLite and more right out of the gate without needing to download third party drivers.

- Automatically tweak Windows system settings which we found to improve performance in our performance and stress tests. For example, we found that Windows’ MaxUserPort registry entry needed increasing when we ran MySQL benchmarks under stress.

- We test a huge matrix including IIS and Apache on XP, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008 in their various OS editions (why does MS have to have so many editions for each OS?).

In short, you will not find another solution with the performance, reliability and native integration to Windows as Zend Server. Zend Server CE and Zend Server both enjoy the same foundation which enables this first-class support and also both versions have been subject to a large amount of performance and stress testing. If you were using Zend Core in conjunction with Zend Platform on Windows you will feel approximately an additional 30% performance boost. If you were using something else then you are likely to realize significantly greater performance improvements. And that is before you tune the environment in more detail. Check out the Zend Server reference manual for more detailed performance tips both for Optimizer+ and specifically for IIS.

Side note: Two bonus tips for anyone running on Windows which aren’t directly related to Zend Server are included at the end of this post.

In any case, if you’re on Windows I have no doubt that you will be impressed by Zend Server. Guaranteed!

If you have any questions, comments or benchmarks you’d like to share please email them to me at myfirstname at


Two bonus tips regarding PHP on Windows:

- If you can avoid running your application from a UNC share and host it on your local drive you will get much better performance.

- If you’re on Server 2008 then there’s something called a UAC File Virtualization Filter Driver which we have seen to significantly slow down file system performance and hence also many PHP applications. Best to look this up and if you’re willing to experiment you can turn it off with the following command “C:\>sc config LUAFV start=disabled” (your mileage may vary and it could cause compatibility issues so make sure to read this article first). I believe an easier way to deal with this is to host your application on another partition (e.g. D:) as I believe by default this filter is not enabled for non-C: drives.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Zend Server is here! (almost)

As I alluded in my New Year’s post we’ve been very busy working on a new product line which today we are unveiling as Zend Server. Zend Server is not a Zend Core or Zend Platform derivative (although it uses a small number of those components, mostly enhanced) rather it’s a new approach on how we want to develop, distribute, and service our production products.

The product has been built from the ground-up to enable easy provisioning on servers, all components can be updated which will enable better servicing of PHP and product components, we have created a community edition which includes real goodies like the management UI and Optimizer+ to make it a great runtime environment for developers and non-critical apps, and much more… Most important though, we see it as a way to develop the product much closer to our users and already in the 9+ month beta we have had with hundreds of reviewers (thanks!) we were releasing incremental builds to our users and using forums to make sure feedback reaches the engineers quickly and publicly.

In the past years it has become clear to me that what our users expect is a simple, easy to deploy, and fully integrated Web stack. Getting a solid, consistent Web stack with the necessary functionality to ensure reliability, security and consistency is not a trivial task for most. With Zend Server, one of our key goals is to deliver a low-cost enjoyable solution which ensures users of all skill levels are able to run industrial-strength production environments.

Zend Server delivers value to various types of users including:

- Making a Linux system administrator’s life easy via native package repositories and up-to-date PHP

- The best possible Windows stack supporting IIS and Apache and using native MSIs for installation and software updates

- The database pro with out-of-the-box support for MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and others

- A great way to run Zend Framework applications reliably and fast

- We deliver the best PHP development package for MAC OS X (Community Edition only)

- Or just a really convenient all-in-one PHP package with a nice administration UI, good performance and a growing community

Of course it also features lots of value-add which is key to production but can also be useful in development including monitoring and root-cause, online security and critical fixes for PHP, Optimizer+ (our acceleration technology), a Java Bridge, easy to use page caching and more… Our Website shows the difference between the two editions. We also already have a good roadmap for the rest of the year to add more value over time.

While I intend to elaborate on the various use-cases and applicable audiences in future posts there is one I do want to briefly mention now - the native Linux support. We have really built this product from the ground up reusing only few assets we had previously in order to ensure the easiest, most reliable out of the box experience. One of the major investments we made was in native rpm/deb support. Not only do we come as an rpm but our whole product is actually structured as a repository with dependencies on OS components (i.e. real use of rpms which very few vendors actually do). This means that we sit on the OS like a glove, very natively and easy to administer and when we send out a software update we can do it for any component in the product and you receive the software update as you’d expect on Linux, not through a proprietary update mechanism but through your standard OS update console. This of course opens up a lot of additional opportunities for using Zend Server including easier provisioning with hosters, with VMs, appliances and other use-cases where standardized provisioning is critical.

In future blog posts I will elaborate on more of these areas helping users get the most advantage out of Zend Server depending on the constituency that they belong to.

It was also extremely important to us to make sure we made a free community based version available. Not only to make it as easy as possible for developers to get up and running with PHP but also to help us drive quality in our offering. Some of our biggest challenges in the past have not been serving production environments but rather the user-experience delivered with our installation, licensing and management. One of our key goals for community edition is to deliver real incremental value to our users while in return we get a broad base of users who help us ensure Zend Server is a smooth experience.

Check out Zend Server at

Also you can sign up at our new Zend Forums, kick the tires, and let us know what you think either via the forum or you can email me directly, andi @ zend! You can download either version during this beta program.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Zend to ship in IBM i

Today we announced that IBM will now ship a preloaded image of Zend's Web stack with any OS upgrade and/or new system purchase.  The goal is to distribute the Zend PHP-based stack more broadly and deliver an out-of-the-box experience for PHP on IBM i (formerly known as AS/400 and i-series).

The relationship with the IBM i team started in 2005. I was deeply involved in forming the partnership and at the time did a lot of the research to better understand the opportunity. This was the first time I really got to know the IBM i community and very quickly I discovered a passionate community who loved their platform but really needed a Web solution badly. There were several solutions at the time which enabled IBM i customers to Web-enable their applications. However, PHP was of biggest interest to the community for many reasons including:

- PHP enables customers to tap into a huge pool of existing PHP talent (approx. 6 million developers) which was a game changer for them as far as talent was concerned.

- PHP has a large eco-system of existing applications which they could leverage.

- PHP is cross-platform and enables organizations to leverage their talent across platforms, databases and applications.

- PHP is easy to adopt by anyone. RPG developers (IBM i's most popular language) can easily learn PHP. After all it's the Visual Basic of the Web.

- PHP delivers modern functionality including support for Web Services, Ajax, Search, graphics, etc...

- and many more reasons...

it is very satisfying that the work IBM and we started in 2005 has really been so well received by their community. There is huge interest in PHP in the IBM i community and adoption has been impressive especially given it was said to be a conservative community. We have definitely proven that wrong.

I have no doubt that bringing PHP to the platform has been a game changer for the IBM i user base. Thanks to the partnership IBM and Zend will continue driving adoption and support for PHP on this platform. I am very much looking forward to continuing our close collaboration with the team at IBM who had the foresight of really pushing this hard over the past few years and, with that, not only making PHP on the IBM i a reality but a first-class citizen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Zend Developer Zone 3.0(?)

While Zend Developer Zone (a.k.a DevZone) perhaps hasn’t gotten as much attention as Zend Framework or the Eclipse PHP Development Tools (PDT) project, it’s an essential piece of the three pronged community-focused strategy Zend launched with the PHP Collaboration Project back in 2005.

DevZone takes an important place alongside Zend Framework and our Eclipse-based tooling as an equal partner in collaboration.  Open source companies’ tail wind is the community—and the learning and mentoring environment that comes with it. We have always strived to help support the ongoing process of cross pollination among the community which has truly matured the PHP eco-system as a whole. Professional content, leadership, and expertise associated with the very best practices of PHP are the key to what has made PHP a mature Enterprise-ready Web solution.

When I started working on the concept of the DevZone back in 2005 I called it I actually still have the presentations which I used internally to get the necessary buy in. I felt that in order to mature PHP, that building both a professional Web application framework and supporting the de-facto standard Eclipse framework was not enough. We needed to create a platform which enables our users, our partners, our customers and Zend to deliver best practices and methodology to the community. We have been blessed with the many contributions DevZone has received so far both from individuals and industry heavyweights like IBM and Adobe.

We have also been fortunate to have a line of great community advocates for PHP, from Jayson Minard, to Cal Evans, and I’m now excited that Eli White ( ) will be joining Zend. The Zend Editor-In-Chief role or “Community Guy” as Eli puts it is a tough role. It is designed for somewhat of a super human who has strong community building skills, editorial skills, deep PHP technical knowledge, broad software knowledge with an ability to bridge out into other communities, strong presentation skills and the list goes on. Surely a hard role to fill. While none of us are super humans I think Eli is really a great fit for this role and has strengths in all of these areas. While Eli’s predecessors have done an excellent job it is always the responsibility of the next generation to take things to the next level. I have no doubt that Eli has the energy and the talent to do that. I personally am looking very much forward to working closely with him because as Eli’s predecessors can attest, the community role and the developer zone are very close to my heart.

Please welcome me in wishing Eli well in his new position! I am sure he’s already busy cooking up some interesting ideas.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Seven Things About Me - Tagged by Marco

I've been tagged by Marco Tabini. This gives me an opportunity to share some things you may not know about me:

1) I was born in Switzerland to a Swiss father and British mother, moved to Israel at the age of 10, started at an Israeli school and within a year I moved to an American school (in Israel) where I graduated with a US high school diploma. As a result I don’t know any language perfectly. English is my best but I still lack a very broad vocabulary.

2) I got a warning letter during my studies at the Technion that if I don’t shape up they’ll kick me out. Working on PHP was just so much more fun. I am one of the only people I know who didn’t even know who most of their lecturers were (until today) as I rarely attended classes. I spent my days sleeping and the nights coding.

3) I am training myself to make the perfect Cappuccino. Although I’ve only been a serious coffee drinker for about three years, making a great cappuccino has become a hobby of mine and I have all the right prosumer equipment to do so.

4) I was on the varsity basketball team in high-school and even flew abroad for some competitions. Although I only play about once a year or two I am still a decent shot when I get the chance (but I lose my breath within a couple of minutes).

5) I envy graphics and Web designers. I have close to no artistic talent but have always wanted to find time to develop this side of me. Unfortunately I haven’t even managed to find the time to learn Photoshop yet alone practicing on the artistic side.

6) I hate shaving. I really hate shaving. When I was in the army I made sure to time the shave just often enough so I could still get away with not shaving every day. Unfortunately these days Eyal, my four year old son, complains when I want to kiss him and I’m not shaved so there’s finally someone who’s motivating me. Wife and Army didn’t do quite as good of a job.

7) I love food and eating out. Typically we start our days off, first thinking where we’re going to eat, and only then what we’re actually going to do. My first two hours of my first time in New York were spent booking restaurants for every day of the following week.

Here are the people I'm tagging:

- Marcus Börger: Smart guy and happens to live in my original hometown of Zürich.

- Mark de Visser: Few know the open-source space better than Mark.

- Roy Ganor: Leads the Zend Studio and PDT team and still not broadly known despite having a lot of interesting thoughts to share. Need to get him aggregated onto :)

- Stas Malyshev: First person to join Zend and someone who's opinion I deeply respect (even if I don't always agree).

- Christopher Jones: Probably the first big vendor employee to get deeply involved with the PHP community.

- Gaylord Aulke: Very talented and experienced Web architect who's led many great projects.

- John Coggeshall: Who I am sure can surprise us all with his factoids.


And here are the rules I'm supposed to pass on to the above bloggers:

* Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
* Share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.
* Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
* Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Looking back at 2008:

This has really been a crazy year. Probably the first year I truly felt I couldn’t keep up with everything that was happening around me (in a good sense). Not because of the depression in the market but rather because many different aspects of our business, community and eco-system have accelerated. Amidst these changes I have also taken on additional roles at Zend to help drive the next phases of our multi-year strategy.

For Zend this has been an important year in delivering on our long term strategy and plan. The PHP Collaboration project which we announced at the end of 2005 has really come to fruition and delivered on its promise including:

- Zend Framework: This year we have had three major releases of Zend Framework, 10 million downloads since inception, two new partners w/ Adobe Systems and Dojo (SitePen) joining as contributors, and many more contributors joining the project. We are very proud that significant content in each release of ZF was not driven by Zend but rather the community. Zend Framework also has driven more opportunity to Zend with both small and large customers unfortunately it is not easy to get the largest ones to agree to being named in public; suffice to say that Enterprise adoption has significantly accelerated. Also we are seeing the next-generation of PHP applications emerging built on Zend Framework including Magento, PHPProjekt and others; some already public and some not, but both driving value to our users and opportunity for Zend and our partners.

- PDT: The 2nd open-source project we launched with the PHP Collaboration Project is the PHP Development Tools (PDT) open-source project at the Eclipse Foundation. This project also has been a great success for us. It has been consistently ranked in the top 2 most popular projects at the Eclipse Foundation which is not only impressive by itself but especially so as Eclipse has traditionally been more focused at the Java community.

On the commercial product side it has also been exciting. We launched Zend Studio for Eclipse 6.0 in January 2008 which builds on top of PDT and delivers a fully fledged IDE for professional developers on the Eclipse framework. We followed with 6.1 in September adding better support for ZF, Ajax and SQL.

On the application server side we released Zend Platform 3.6 w/ enhanced support for page caching esp. URL-based schemes which is critical for framework based applications, enhanced our support for monitoring and root cause, and delivered a variety of additional enhancements. Our reliable PHP offering, Zend Core, which delivers a fully-supported PHP offering including hot fixes to keep PHP up-to-date with the latest critical issues, also saw several releases including version 2.5. And all this not only in the standard packages on Linux and other OSes but also on the IBM i (AS/400) where we drove additional innovation including a 5250 bridge which enables IBM i shops to modernize and move to the Web extremely quickly while retaining the flexibility of working with a language like PHP.

What’s coming up in 2009?

The economic reality drives opportunity for companies like Zend as our solution and eco-system deliver a low-cost and high-quality alternative to Java and other more expensive solutions. While spending has tightened our experience during the dot-com bust was that ultimately it increased the opportunity for Zend. The world back then shifted from an almost de-facto standard stack of Sun, Weblogic and Oracle to embracing Linux, PHP and MySQL. With the large Java vendors already struggling to resurrect their relevance in the Web application space I believe the current economic climate can only accelerate the market opportunity for us.

2008 was an important year for us. Not only did we finish delivering on the first part of our long-term strategy but spent a good part of the year driving a strong roadmap for 2009. The foundation for this roadmap is to leverage what we have achieved so far and deliver a fully integrated and mature solution for professional PHP shops. Some key goals include:

- Continue contributing to the open-source projects which we use as a basis for our solution including PHP, Zend Framework and PDT and help drive ubiquity in the Web market.

- An increasing emphasis on service and quality. This means more frequent releases, more frequent hot fixes, more opportunity for our users to contribute to the process and a preference to reduce the support matrix to enable more focus on the most common setups.

- Simplicity: We want it to be easy to get up and running with Zend, both on the development and the production side. We are putting a big emphasis on making the whole adoption of our solution easier and more straightforward.

On the application server side we have an exciting roadmap which again leverages the investments we have made thus far. We will be focusing at simplicity, streamlining deployment, performance management and delivering a supported and up-to-date PHP. We have spent the past year working on integrating some of our key goals on the application server side and are looking forward to delivering it to market in 2009. As we will roll out a lot of this work we also continue to have a strong feature roadmap for the year on delivering additional value with at least one very cool innovation cooking in the garage. We are also on the look-out for PHP 5.3 and have already made preparations to pick-up and support this major new version when it goes GA.

On the development tools side we have a strong roadmap for Zend Studio for Eclipse. We will be building this roadmap on PDT 2.0 which the team released two days ago (congrats!). PDT 2.0 brings a new source editing experience to PHP developers with a new robust platform and with many new features. It also has more than 500 issues fixed. We believe the time we are investing in PDT will serve us well when we continue to drive innovation around Zend Studio for Eclipse. We have also announced that we will be joining the Galileo simultaneous release ( which will provide better synchronization between the various projects in Eclipse and the PDT project and ultimately will deliver more value to our Zend Studio for Eclipse customers. This also puts PHP in the list of leading top languages that provide “Eclipse Aligned” packages (currently these are Java, Java EE and C++).

Not only does our roadmap hold a lot of opportunity for our partners but we’ve been working throughout the 2nd half of 2008 to continue driving various partner initiatives. We are fortunate to have strong partnerships from small ISVs and SIs to larger corporations like Adobe, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. We continue to drive joint community contributions, product integrations, customer successes and other initiatives with our partners which will continue to strengthen and roll-out throughout 2009.

If you’ve made it this far I’d like to close by thanking all of our community, customers, partners, and employees for not only making 2008 an enjoyable year but for also supporting us towards rolling out a successful 2009.

Happy New Year!