Like voting in Chicago, upgrade early and often!
So the other day Zend announced Zend Server 6.3. As per their commitment level, they released it for Linux, Windows and IBM i! Woohoo! It is nice to be on the same release sequence as the other major products so thank you R&D!
What’s in it for me?
Zend Server 6.3 has a load of good stuff for IBM i PHP enthusiasts. This is the first time Zend has announced support for 3 major release levels of PHP, PHP 5.3, 5.4 and brand new PHP 5.5. In addition, Zend Server for IBM i also supports cross version upgrades. This means you can update the Zend Server 6 PHP stack from PHP 5.3 to PHP 5.5 with only a PTF. In previous release this was only supported by uninstalling Zend Server and reinstalling it. A HUGE time saver but beware of deprecated features as you move from 5.2 to 5.3 to 5.4 to 5.5.
Also new in Zend Server 6 is support for the Open Source toolkit as a library. This feature makes updates virtually painless and you can easily select which toolkit version you want to use by clicking an option on the library screen.
Many of your favorite PHP extensions are also updated as a result of the new version of PHP. These and performance improvements can provide tons of reasons why you should consider updating your PHP stack.
The latest PHP version is out called PHP 5.5. This new release contains support for new features like generators and list function in the foreach clause. There are 37 bug fixes, performance improvements to the PHP Engine and much more.
As always, the basic edition of Zend Server is ready and waiting for you to install on IBM i thanks to the great partnership with IBM.
How do I get there?
Downloads are available on the Zend.com website and installed via the PTF process. Keep in mind that PTF’s can be installed and removed so you have a way out if there is a problem. Ideally, Zend recommends a separate LPAR for development where these discoveries can be made before finding out the hard way.
Are you on Zend Server 5? You can install Zend Server 6 side by side with Zend Server 5 and run them simultaneously on the same LPAR. There is a single conflict in the port definitions of the Java Bridge, but that can be remedied quite quickly (/usr/local/zendsvr6/etc/conf.d/jbridge.ini ).
We’ve come a long way since Zend Core and PHP 5.2. And there is no end in sight!