TUG Buzz!
March 22, 2010

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The Toronto Users Group  
 for Power Systems (TUG) is a user group/forum for the exchange  
 of ideas, and specializes  
 in providing affordable 
  education relating to the  
 IBM iSeries, AS/400,  
 System i, and Power Systems platforms.  

 TUG is in its 25th year of operation.

 
 
 

Welcome to TUG's eNewsletter: "TUG Buzz!"

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. TEC 2010 Pre-Conference Guide Now On-line
  2. Zeev Suraski Comments on PHP and Zend
  3. TUG Executive Breakfast
  4. TEC 2010 Blog-site Reminder
  5. DRV Technologies

The TEC 2010 Pre-Conference Guide is now available for reading!

The April issue of the TUG eZine is actually a dedicated Pre-Conference Guide for TEC 2010. Click here to read it online. 

Best Regards,
Vaughn Dragland   
Editor, TUG eZine
a publication of Toronto Users Group for Power Systems
  

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TEC 2010 Update:

IBM i Goes Web: Zend’s Zeev Suraski on PHP and IBM i

Since we started cooperating with IBM to bring the Zend stack over to the IBM i platform, we’ve seen a variety of exciting changes and opportunities.  I would like to take a few minutes and explore a little about where PHP has come on IBM i and where we see it going.

What is PHP and who is Zend?
As you might know, PHP is an open source scripting language used to build dynamic web pages. Over more than 10 years, PHP has gained massive following, and is now powering a third(!) of all web applications, including facebook and Wikipedia. Simply put, Zend is the PHP company. It was founded in 1997 by Andi Gutmans (today Zend’s CEO) and myself (today Zend’s CTO). Together, we rewrote the parsing engine for version 3 of PHP, a project that helped boost the popularity PHP. We later spearheaded the development of PHP 4 and 5, and continue to contribute to a number of open source projects, including PHP itself, Zend Framework – a highly successful web application framework, and Eclipse PHP Development Tools project – a popular free PHP code editor. Zend also delivers commercial products and services to thousands of companies that rely on PHP for their business-critical applications:

  • Zend Studio is our Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which is used by thousands of professional PHP developers
  • Zend Server is a an enterprise-grade PHP runtime environment that includes a full web application stack as well as various management capabilities, such as application monitoring, problem diagnostics and performance optimization
  • Zend’s services team provides technical support, training on PHP and Zend’s products, and consulting 

What is the Zend Solution for IBM i?
The Zend solution for IBM includes Zend Server for IBM i and Zend Studio for IBM i.  These two products comprise the best environment for PHP developers who are looking to grow beyond RPG, COBOL and CL.   For the rest of the article I’d like to focus on Zend Server for IBM i and the interesting opportunities it brings to the i platform.
Zend Server for IBM i enables deployment and management of PHP applications – both off-the-shelf and custom developed.  It belongs to the latest generation of runtime environments from Zend, and supersedes two previous generation products - Zend Core for i5/OS and Zend Platform for i5/OS.  A Community Edition (CE) version of Zend Server is available free of charge, and comes with one year of free support, courtesy of IBM.

At the heart of Zend Server CE for IBM i we find PHP itself, surrounded by a rich selection of extension modules, performance-boosting components and the PHP Toolkit for IBM i.  The toolkit allows direct access to IBM i-specific features such as calling RPG programs, reading from data queues and retrieving spooled files.  Zend Server for IBM i unlocks the power of PHP, with its rich ecosystem of thousands of free applications and millions of developers – onto the IBM i platform.
The commercial edition of Zend Server includes all of the capabilities of Zend Server CE, while adding a plethora of features for improved performance, application monitoring and root cause analysis.

Zend Server is designed to improve PHP’s performance in a variety of ways, including optimizing and caching bytecode, caching data and caching output.  Some of it will work out of the box, improving performance without requiring modifications of any kind to the PHP application.  Other parts require configuration or minor code changes.  All in all, Zend Server’s performance boosting components typically yield between 2x and 10x performance gains, depending on the situation.  Thanks to focused optimization work done in Zend Server for the IBM i, it is much, much faster than Zend Core and Zend Platform, typically as much as 3x.

On the management front, Zend Server includes setting management of your PHP-based server, application monitoring and code tracing.   You can think of Zend Server’s monitoring as the PHP equivalent of the QSYSOPR message queue for PHP applications.  It is your extra pair of eyes that is constantly watching over your applications and capturing diagnostic data when issues arise.  Code tracing takes monitoring to the next level by providing the software equivalent of a black box flight recorder – showing not only what happened when the error occurred, but also the entire execution path that lead to it.  Unlike RPG applications where you have to respond with a “D” to capture the important dump information when an escape message is thrown, Zend Server captures all of the information every time! This means that developers and well as system administrators can access a lot of detail about the issue, thus making the resolution process much quicker.  Best of all – monitoring and code tracing have been designed with performance in mind, and can work in a live production environment, where reproducing problems is challenging and sometimes just impossible. Pinpointing and fixing application issues has never been easier, in PHP or in any other language.

Finally – Zend Server includes a 5250 Bridge, enabling communications between PHP and green-screen applications.  The bridge allows developers to web-enable their green-screen applications while using PHP, create different workflows, merge several screens into one HTML form, and more.  The possibilities are truly endless.
Zend Server CE and Zend Studio for IBM i are both still included as part of your IBM maintenance.  When IBM releases the new version of IBM i, Zend Server CE will be pre-loaded on the machine with all of the other products that IBM ships.  This makes it even easier for IBM i shops to experiment with and adopt PHP while continuing to demonstrate IBM’s commitment to PHP as a strategic solution for all IBM i customers.

For those of you who have experienced with Zend Core - you’ll be happy to hear that thanks to the combined efforts of IBM and Zend, Zend Server no longer requires two separate Apache instances in order to operate.  Zend Server implements PHP via a FastCGI which negates the need for a PASE Apache server.  All Apache configuration work is done exclusively in the IBM Apache instance using IBM’s well built and powerful administration tools.   This simplifies the administration of Apache servers and greatly improves performance, as there is no longer a relay between the Apache servers before content is delivered to the browser.
Another welcome change is that unlocking the full potential of the commercial edition of Zend Server and all of its features only involves punching in a license key – no installations or setup are necessary.

I am truly enthusiastic about the release of Zend Server for IBM i.  With highly increased performance, simpler architecture, Code Tracing and simplified installation – PHP on IBM i has never been better and it’s never been easier.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Happy PHPing!

 

 

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TUG EXECUTIVE BREAKFAST:
Commercial Open Source for the Enterprise

Larry AugustinTuesday April 27th, 2010 
Toronto, Ontario

Running your business in a tight and competitive economy, you understand that your approach to enterprise applications can be critical to the future of the organization. Using Open Source, often in combination with Cloud Computing, promises dramatic cost savings and increase in flexibility and responsiveness to business needs. Our session explores the maturation of open source for commercial purposes and the steady increase in its value; and proposes Enterprise Open Source as a “safe bet” at the dawn of 2010.

A 2008 Forrester Research survey recorded that 58% of IT execs use open source for mission critical applications, 79% within their applications infrastructure. While cost advantage is obvious, fully 80% cite factors other than cost such as open standards support, avoidance of vendor lock-in, ease of integration.

Join me and special guest Speaker Larry Augustin as we explore Commercial Open Source and use of Open Source in enterprise including cost and risk benefit comparison to proprietary software. We’ll share perspectives and ideas and offer practical Guidance .

Key areas of discussion include:

  • A brief overview of Commercial Open Source and its benefits;
  • Application Quality;
  • Cloud Computing and Open Source;
  • Strategies to dramatically lower costs and break vendor lock;
  • Where to start in assessing and mitigating risk associated with Commercial Open Source.

Larry Augustin is an Open Source pioneer, "angel investor", and advisor to early stage technology companies from Cupertino California. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Appcelerator, Compiere, DeviceVM, DotNetNuke, Fonality, Hyperic, Medsphere, Pentaho and SugarCRM. One of the group who coined the term "Open Source", he has written and spoken extensively on Open Source worldwide. Worth Magazine named him to their list of the Top 50 CEOs in 2000. From 2002 to 2004 he was a Venture Partner at Azure Capital Partners. In 1993 he founded VA Linux (now SourceForge, NASDAQ:LNUX) serving as CEO until August 2002. While CEO he launched SourceForge.net and led the company through an IPO in December 1999.

If you are interested in attending this event, contact the TUG office. 

Remember, seating is limited. There is no attendance charge for companies who are attending TEC 2010.

Mark Buchner

Executive Director   
T
oronto Users Group for Power Systems   

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TEC 2010 Blog-site Reminder

TUG wants to know your thoughts about speakers & topics, and other related ideas for TEC 2010, so we have created a blog-site for you to post your comments.

Check it out now at: www.tec2010.ca.

You can comment on existing posts, simply by completing the form in the ”Leave a Reply” section.  You must include your email address (which will remain confidential.)   Please take the time to do this. We would like to hear from you…

 

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What topics would you like to see at future conferences and MoMs?   Drop us a line with your suggestions at: leo@tug.ca.
DRV Technologies

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TEC 2010 Sponsors


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




Do we have your current e-mail address and other contact information? Email the TUG office to keep us up-to-date.   


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