Commercial PHP vendor Zend is aiming to improve the scalability of PHP for large-scale deployments and the cloud with the release this week of Zend Server Cluster Manager, a system for managing multiple PHP servers.
The cluster manager builds on the work that Zend began in April, 2009 with the first release of Zend Server and since expanded. Zend Server is a bundled PHP middleware server that provides both the PHP language as well as an Apache Web server with database connectivity.
"What Zend Server Cluster Manager provides is high-availability, scalability and management of large PHP deployments," Andi Gutmans CEO of Zend told InternetNews.com. "The way it's built is you can start with Zend Server, but as you need to grow and scale you can put cluster manager on top of it."
Zend Server itself is available as both a community version and a commercial version, but the cluster manager is available only in a commercial version.
While Zend Server Cluster Manager is intended to help scale Zend Server, it's not necessarily focused on scaling the database back-end directly.
"We're looking less at the database and we basically assume that the customer will be able to scale their database instance," Gutmans said. "From our standpoint, which is really the Web tier with Linux, Apache and PHP, we want to make sure that when those items are run in a cluster there is high-availability and failover."
Among the high-availability features included with Cluster Manager is session distribution and monitoring to ensure performance. Gutmans stressed that cluster manager does care about the data source. He noted that the cluster manager will look at queries and provide alerts if database performance isn't good, though the product won't take care of actually scaling the database.
The Cluster Manager will also work for both virtual and physical instances of Zend Server. Gutmans noted that Zend actually runs much of its own infrastructure on VMware.
Another area where Zend Cluster Manager may be able to help out large-scale deployments is when users already have a load balancer or Application Delivery Controller (ADC) in their data center. Gutmans commented that most of Zend's customers today already have load balancers in front of their clusters.
"It's really a load balancer in conjunction with Zend Server Cluster Manager that gives the most performance," Gutmans said.
Gutmans noted that Zend doesn't have any specific partnerships with load balancing hardware vendors. That said, he noted that Zend Server Cluster Manager will work with any load balancing solution.
"We make it fool-proof for them," Gutmans said. "So even if the customer doesn't correctly configure their load balancer, the nice thing about Cluster Manager is that it will work."