Zend, the PHP company, is updating its namesake PHP application server to version 8.5, providing new features and performance for users. The Zend Server 8.5 release builds on the Zend Server 8 milestone, which debuted with the Z-Ray application insight technology.
With Z-Ray, the basic idea is to have an X-Ray-like approach to looking into applications (with the Z standing for Zend) for helping developers improve performance and troubleshoot any issues. As part of the new Zend Server 8.5 release, the new Zend Gallery is being added, providing a library of Z-Ray add-ons that can be used.
Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend, explained to ServerWatch that the add-ons in the Zend Gallery have been validated by Zend.
"Currently, the process requires us to accept and validate the plugins for them to show up in the Gallery," Gutmans said. "Of course it doesn't prevent people from deploying their own plugins via our plugin interface even if they are not listed in the Gallery."
Gutmans added that so far, community-driven plugins have been contributed by partners, customers and even a couple from Zend staff on their free time.
Zend has also worked closely with community members in some select communities such as WordPress and Drupal to ensure that Z-Ray is delivering the most valuable insight.
From an economic standpoint, Gutmans noted that currently there's no revenue model for Z-Ray plugins themselves, although they can add value to existing paid products or services -- e.g. the AWS plug-in that extends the paid AWS service.
Zend Server 8.5 also improves the Job Queue feature that enables scheduling.
"The most significant new capability is being able to manage groups of jobs independently (multiple queues) -- per-queue job priorities, per-queue job and queue management, etc," Gutmans said. "This was the number one requested feature from our customers."
Additionally, Zend Server 8.5 adds in new app framework-specific built-in routing support. The new routing support comes by way of plugins that understand the MVC (Model View Controller) routing of the apps and frameworks, according to Gutmans.
"By better understanding the MVC routing versus just the plain URL, we are able to do a better job at aggregating events and displaying more contextual information vs. just looking at these apps from a generic URL point of view," Gutmans said.
"There are a number of areas within Zend Server which use this information, and customers can add their own plugins tailored to their own custom apps or frameworks so it is a very powerful capability," Gutmans continued.
Zend Server is all about enabling the PHP language, which itself is now in the midst of one of its biggest milestone developments in years, with PHP 7. Gutmans commented that PHP 7 is now in beta and his company is starting to focus its efforts on supporting Zend Server on PHP 7.
"It's early, but we're making good progress and are prioritizing the effort," Gutmans said. "We think the combination of PHP 7 and Zend Server's Enterprise assurance and capabilities will make a major impact in the dynamic language landscape."