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Zend bulks up PHP app server for business

Changes to Zend Platform aim to make the server software for running Web applications more corporate friendly.

Zend Technologies on Monday is expected to release an updated version of Zend Platform, its server software for running corporate Web applications written in PHP language.

Zend Platform 3.0 adds a number of features designed to make PHP applications perform better and integrate with corporate applications, said Andi Gutmans, the company's co-founder and co-chief technology officer.

For example, the application server has more robust clustering, and the application monitoring system can now connect to systems management platforms using the common SNMP protocol. Zend has also integrated the server with software from the open-source Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project to run reports.

A Linux version of the Zend Platform 3.0 will be available on Monday for both 32-bit and 64-bit chips.

By April, Zend intends to release a Windows version, which will be the first time that the company will offer a certified Windows deployment server, Gutmans said. Right now, most PHP applications run on Linux servers rather than Windows because PHP software for Linux is more robust, he said.

"This is the first time we're going to officially support Windows for production. Of course, it was influenced by our ," he said.

The Windows version will greatly improve performance of PHP applications on Windows, he said.

Also by April, Zend will release versions of Zend Platform for FreeBSD, Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris, and IBM's iSeries servers.

Adding corporate-friendly features to the PHP language is central to Zend's strategy to sell PHP software to corporate and government customers.

Scripting languages like PHP are widely used on public Web sites, but scripting has become increasingly viable for business applications as an alternative to Java or other well-established languages. IBM, for example, last week introduced a version of .

The PHP language itself is open source and freely available, and people can run PHP applications on a Web server without Zend Platform.

Zend Platform, which is used for more demanding applications, has three different configurations which start at $1,495 per server with dual-core processor.