Monday, September 19, 2011

Zend DBi to the rescue!

Are you looking for MySQL for IBM i? Look no further as Zend and IBM are introducing Zend DBi

A few years ago I was at in a CAAC meeting with some really good customers and some really good IBM’ers. IBM’s Software Chief Architect at the time or maybe someone nearly as powerful said “Hey, how about we bring MySQL to IBM i?” As PHP has started to gain popularity via the Zend distribution at this point I chimed in and said “Why? I’ve got DB2…”. Well, in the spirit of Ken Olson I too am capable of a really bad prediction question when it comes to hindsight.

Until that point I had really thought PHP on IBM i would only be used for accessing DB2 data and RPG programs. Sure there would be the odd COBOL programmer out there, but I was an RPG guy and very narrow minded. I saw lots of opportunities to web enable DB2 data, make green bar reports disappear and replace them with HTML tables generated by bunches of PHP scripts running 100% on IBM i.

Then we started to discuss the opportunity. Thousands of open source and commercial applications in the PHP world are essentially written to the LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. What we had done to that point was create the iADP stack: IBM i, Apache, DB2 and PHP. With several thousand PHP applications looking for MySQL there was a perfect fit about to be created. By implementing MySQL on IBM i, customers could then install nearly ANY open source application natively on the machine and reap the benefits of some really good technology without having to deploy YAFS (Yet-Another-Friendly-Server).

So now customers could write PHP applications and web services, implement database agnostic PHP applications via Zend Framework and PDO and now implement MySQL based applications. OK, I was sold. Then IBM went one better and created the DB2 Storage Engine for MySQL. MySQL is constructed in such a way where the database storage engine is abstracted from the SQL interface layer. This creates a VERY powerful equation in that your PHP applications can think it is reading and writing to MySQL yet all the time and under the covers it is really storing and retrieving from DB2!

Then the folks at Oracle said NO MORE MYSQL FOR YOU to the entire IBM Power Systems family! The distributions of MySQL were relegated to the archive site and IBM i customers were confused and looking for answers. IBM immediately set out to find a new suitor for MySQL on IBM i. There was too much at stake to let it languish in obscurity and after all it was just another open source project. So, looking to the company that successfully landed PHP on the platform made a LOT of sense. Now Zend and IBM have one more thing to brag about, Zend DBi! Zend DBi is essentially a drop-in replacement for the MySQL distribution that customers have been leveraging. Zend will provide, as part of the Zend Server Download, or alone, a current distribution of MySQL under the name Zend DBi.

Some of the details are still solidifying, but the excitement is building and more information can be gathered either from my webcast from last week or in a periodical near you.