The introduction of Zend Core to the IBM i opened a new world of possibilities for IBM i developers trying to create web applications that would make use of their existing DB2 files while hosting them on the same system. Zend Core was the first step on porting a reliable PHP stack to the IBM i world and while it was indeed a great first step, there was also room for improvement.
The Zend Core distribution made use of an Apache instance that ran in the PASE environment, leaving the IBM HTTP Server Powered by Apache working as a reverse proxy mainly passing the requests to the instance in the PASE environment. As more advanced PHP applications were developed, developers and administrators began to struggle with more complex Apache directives and configuration that were needed because of the reverse proxy. Zend and IBM worked on a solution to eliminate this problem: The new Zend Server for IBM i. In addition to eliminating the Apache server in PASE, new and improved caching algorithms were introduced that have the capability to deliver great performance improvements depending on the nature of the applications.
Mike Pavlak goes into further detail explaining Zend Server’s packaging, new architecture, installation and server versions (Community Edition and Commercial Edition) on the “What’s New with PHP on IBM i?” article hosted at SystemiNetwork.
For those of you that are currently using Zend Core, we recommend the upgrade to Zend Server CE. You can read our KB article “Using WebSmart PHP with Zend Server CE” to get information on how to download and setup Zend Server CE.