New Zend Server 5.5 Bridges Dev Ops for Enterprise PHP Apps

Zend Technologies, the creator and commercial maintainer of the PHP dynamic scripting language, today released a new version of its PHP Web application server. Zend Server 5.5 extends the product's app lifecycle support with new deployment and automation features that "bridge the gap between development and operations teams and support rapid application delivery and auto-scaling of enterprise PHP applications."

This release comes with a number of enhancements, including a set of application packages designed to streamline the hand-off from development to operations teams. These packages provide predefined settings and parameters meant to save time and eliminate routine errors. This version also comes with tools for rolling back and recovering from code or deployment errors and/or outages; servers and apps can be restored to their last-known working state. There's also what Kent Mitchell, Zend's director of product management, described as a proactive monitoring system that provides real-time alerts to operations teams about application status and deployment issues.

"People have told us that there's what we've been calling a 'collaboration gap' between development and operations," Mitchell told this site. "Developers build stuff, test it, check everything into version control, and then say to the ops people, 'Okay, go ahead and deploy it.' Essentially, what dev is handing off to ops is a blueprint. It says, 'This is generally how this thing needs to be structured.' What PHP developers haven't had is the ability to package up a complete application in a cohesive set and hand it to the operations department, saying 'This is exactly what we tested, and here's exactly how we want it configured and structured.'"

This release also addresses the increasing unpredictability of traffic and workloads caused both by the growing popularity of the cloud and the proliferation of end user devices, Mitchell said.

"People are moving much more rapidly than we initially thought they would into cloud deployments," he said. "And it's not just small and medium businesses, where it's almost a perfect fit, but even larger companies are moving into the cloud because of the unpredictable nature of scalability and the rapid growth that the social aspect of things is bringing to the table."

"Considering PHP's ubiquity on the Web, it wasn't a question of if it embraced the cloud, but when," said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady.

Zend Server 5.5 comes with Web APIs for automated provisioning, configuring and deployment of applications, and for auto-scaling of highly available clusters. It supports the automated provisioning of a standardized PHP stack that "leverages technology while promoting consistency and productive collaboration across development, testing, staging and production environments," the company said. It also enables continuous integration (CI) processes that support agile deployment.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based Zend actually announced the new deployment automation features back in April, when it partnered with RightScale, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based provider of an automated, Web-based cloud management platform, to develop a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) architecture. The RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack combined a number of tools and features, including a production-ready, cloud-based environment that includes the Zend Server, the Zend Server Cluster Manager, and RightScale's Premium Onboarding, which is a step-by-step path to deploying on the cloud using best practices from the two companies.

More information on Zend Server 5.5 is available on the Zend product page here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].