Friday, August 13, 2010

I want to do PHP on IBM i so what do I have to pay for?

My last blog highlighted the fact that there are free samples of PHP scripts that come with Zend Server. But I keep fielding the age old questions about what everyone wants for free. The truth is that NOTHING is free. With that said, let’s discuss the licensing arrangement between IBM, Zend and the customer. At a high level, IBM reached out to Zend to provide the PHP runtime, IDE and support for IBM i. This means that IBM does not provide direct technical support to customers for the Zend Stack. But IBM does support Zend in delivering support and solutions like Fast CGI and updates to Apache, DB2, etc.

The ubiquitous Zend Server for IBM i
First, let’s talk about Zend Server for IBM i, the PHP solution for IBM i. Zend Server is a complete PHP runtime with a variety of added features. There is a single distribution of Zend Server for IBM i and it will behave differently depending on which license key is installed. Installation of the Community Edition key will enable the PHP runtime and a couple of bells and whistles. Customers who purchase the full license key will get the additional productivity features like Code Tracing, Job Queue and PHP Application Monitoring. Since the download is the same for either product, come to for the files. At this writing there are two option of running PHP 5.2 or 5.3. Also, we have moved to a PTF method for updates. So if you have Zend Server 5.0.1, all you need to do is download the PTF update for 5.0.2 and install using the IBM PTF method. This is a lot easier than doing a rip and replace and it gives the customer more control over the changes. In addition to the free scripts I mentioned in the last blog there are some other pieces like phpMyAdmin, the open source database utility that provides a GUI admin for you MySQL environment.

Zend Server Community Edition for IBM i
I mentioned earlier that NOTHING is free. But, customers of IBM i, do not have to pay for Zend Server Community Edition for IBM i. That is because IBM has paid for this feature for you! To get the Zend PHP runtime, known as Zend Server Community Edition for IBM i customers simply navigate their browsers to and download the solution as indicated above and get a free license key at Please keep in mind that this is a perpetual license and will not stop running at the end of the support agreement and that all of the full version features are available for the first 30 days as a trial.

Where’s my free support for Zend Server?
The Community Edition shipped with the IBM i operating system or downloaded from comes with a first free year of Silver level support. The free year of support corresponds to the first year of usage of a new IBM i operating system purchase, or first installation of Zend Solutions. As Zend Server replaces Zend Core for IBM i, which also came with a first year of Silver level support, the first free year does not restart with an upgrade from Core to Server. This means that if you downloaded Zend Core for IBM i 6 months ago, you are entitled to 6 months of support for Zend Server for IBM i for the same IBM i serial number. If your first year of support for Core has expired, you are still entitled to upgrade to Zend Server Community Edition;you may use the new software unsupported of purchase a support subscription from Zend.

I’m out of support so what do I do?
To buy or not to buy, that is the question! There are two options. Customers who would like to continue some level of support can contact their friendly neighborhood Zend account manager for pricing on Gold or Platinum support. Support and software licenses are sold together on a subscription basis. This means that both support and the advanced features are licensed for a specific period of time, usually 1 to 3 years. There is a charge for this support, but you get what you pay for! Customers who choose not to purchase support can still get questions answered via the forums like WEB400 at or the Zend Forums. If a customer decides to not renew support, the product will continue to run but only with the Community Edition functionality.

So what about that Studio product?
Zend Studio for IBM i is the premier IDE for PHP applications. It is also the ONLY IDE that supports debugging PHP scripts on the IBM i, QED. Zend Studio for IBM i is available at no charge to IBM i customers. Additionally, customers ae entitled to a first year of free basic support from Zend. IBM purchased this product for everyone in the IBM i community so why not take advantage of it?
Zend Studio for IBM i is constrained, however. IBM i customers can only run, deploy and debug PHP scripts on an IBM i. Customers who wish to deploy against a local PC or Linux/Windows server must purchase the full Zend Studio product. There are a variety of license options available but all based upon an annual subscription model.
Zend Studio features are documented at but at a high level there is support for PHP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Object Introspection, and much more.

I got an email saying that my support is running out!
Most likely you did. Just before the one year anniversary of your support expiration Zend will send out notices to customers who have downloaded the solutions and registered their servers. This is to provide you with planning options so that your support does not lapse. Both Zend Server Community Edition and Zend Studio are perpetual license so they will continue to run. But updates may not be as frequent and there is no support outside of the defined support agreements.

I hope this clarifies a few things. Ultimately, any questions can be addressed by an account manager. If you are not sure who your account manager is, please let me know or contact our sales folks at