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Zend CEO Answers Questions at ZendCon

Kim Greene’s interview with Andi Gutmans


I had a great time at ZendCon 09 in San Jose, Calif. You can read my recap in “My Experiences at ZendCon 2009.” While there, I had the opportunity to sit down with Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend Technologies, to ask a range of questions from performance optimizations to the future of MySQL.

Q. Being a performance analyst myself, I’m interested in hearing more details about the code-tracing capability added to Zend Server 5.0 that you talked about at the opening session. Can you elaborate?

A. Code tracing requires very deep integration with the hardware to properly capture the internal runtime appropriately with timers. Code tracing uses native POWER to capture this data. POWER is a really great chip for this and it makes our life easier than it does doing this level of instrumentation on x86.

Code tracing is such a good tool that as we do more performance optimizations on the IBM i to identify bottlenecks, we are also getting insight into our own product. It’s a cycle. We use the code-tracing capability to collect information on performance bottlenecks, make code optimization changes and start the process over for further refinement.

One of the bottlenecks identified through code tracing was related to accessing the IFS. Zend Server 5.0 contains an acceleration component that minimizes the number of accesses to the IFS to ensure better scalability on IBM i.

The biggest performance improvement for IBM i customers is that Zend Server on the IBM i will only have one HTTP stack. The Zend Core implementation on IBM i contains two HTTP stacks—one in PASE and one in ILE. A proxy is used to communicate between the two HTTP servers. With Zend Server 5.0 on IBM i, Zend worked with IBM to plug PHP directly into the IBM Apache server. The management experience and overall integration for the platform is going to be much better.


Kim Greene is the owner of Kim Greene Consulting Inc. and an IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems—IBM i edition technical editor. Kim can be reached at

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