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Zend Server 8 Delivers Z-Ray Application Insight

When it comes to web server technology, for much of the history of the web the open-source PHP language has been a key player. Zend is one of the lead commercial sponsors behind PHP and has its Zend Server platform, which enables organizations to deliver PHP at scale, with enterprise monitoring and management features.

The Zend Server platform was first introduced back in 2009 and has steadily been improved ever since. Zend Server 8This week Zend announced its new Zend Server 8 platform, with a heavy emphasis on a feature it calls Z-ray.

The basic idea behind the Z-Ray is that much like an X-Ray (with the Z standing for Zend), the feature looks into the applications that the server is delivering.

Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend, explained to ServerWatch that Zend Server 8 exposes a lot of server-side information to developers, including performance, execution time, memory usage, database queries and profiling information.

"We're going to show you information that you used to have a really hard time getting access too," Gutmans said.

Going a step further, Gutmans added that knowing how to do the correlation between a server event and application performance can be a challenge, which is another area in which Zend Server 8 aims to help solve.

As part of Zend Server 8 there is an extensibility API that enables application developers to expose information that is specific to a given application. Gutmans said the API includes a generic tracing mechanism that enables a developer to specify which application methods should be monitored and collected.

There are also pre-built application performance templates for some of the most popular application use-cases, including WordPress, Drupal and Magento.

"This also marks a change for Zend, so now instead of just going to market generically around PHP, we're really now also aligned with some key applications," Gutmans said.

Currently the emphasis is on server performance and there is not yet any specific template or information for developers to improve application security.

For development, Zend Studio 12 is now also being announced, based on the latest release of the open-source Eclipse PDT project.

Zen Server for Power Linux

For the first time, Zend Server is now also available on IBM's Power Linux platforms. Zend has been available for years on IBM i, but has not been available for Linux running on IBM's Power servers. IBM has had a busy year for Power, launching its Power8 server systems portfolio and doubling down on Linux.

Gutmans is very enthusiastic about IBM's strategy for Power. IBM recently announced that it was divesting its silicon fabrication capabilities.

"The whole IBM strategy for Power is much like what ARM has already done, that is to become the architecture and have an ecosystem," Gutmans said. "I think IBM selling off their silicon fabs,is a good move as it reduces friction with their ecosystem."


In terms of deployment, Zend has a wizard for Amazon Web Services (AWS) deployment. Zend Server can also be utilized on a metered basis on AWS as well. Gutmans added that Zend is working with IBM Softlayer now as well to make Zend Server images available on an metered basis.

Zend also works with other cloud technologies, including OpenStack. Gutmans explained that Zend Server will work with automation tools like Puppet or Chef for deployment on an OpenStack cloud.

"We're also working with vendors to build pre-packaged patterns, similar to what we've done with Amazon," Gutmans said. "It's not dependent on whether an organization is using OpenStack, but what their automation tools are."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on October 29, 2014
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