With Zend Server for IBM i V5.6 Zend has released a new and improved toolkit to provide access to IBM i data, programs and operating system functions called the “XML Service” or "XML Toolkit". This technology was created in collaboration with IBM to replace the previous toolkit technology licensed from Aura technologies (Easycom or the “i5 Toolkit” or “PHP Toolkit”). This action was taken because Zend and IBM decided it was time to replace the existing technology with one more consistent with our long term goals for the PHP on the IBM i platform. This new toolkit is 100% open source and is built on a common technologies such as DB2, RPG, XML, ILE and PHP and utilizes common IBM i connectivity mechanisms, such as normal database connections. As of the V5.6 release Zend and IBM will no longer be shipping any release that contain the Aura technologies.
Isn’t that a lot like the current PHP toolkit bundled with Zend Server on IBM i?
Yes, this new functionality provides virtually the same functionality as what was previously provided.
If it is essentially the same capabilities, why was this new technology built?
There are a number of added benefits of this new technology such as:
1. It is 100% open source and is based on standard technologies like DB2, RPG, XML, ILE and PHP.
2. Because it is open source, it can easily be extended for additional functionality
3. It was developed and is supported by IBM in collaboration with Zend.
4. It takes advantage of the standard IBM i mechanisms such as standard DB2 connections, stored procedures, and RPG ILE.
5. The client-side code for this new toolkit is entirely in PHP so it can easily run on any platform that can connect to the DB2 database on IBM i
6. It provide better performance than the Easycom software currently shipped with Zend Server.
Will this technology replace the current PHP toolkit in Zend Server?
This technology is our long-term solution for all new Zend Server releases starting with V5.6. We encourage customer to begin a plan to migrate existing application to this new technology. Until December 31, 2011, users may download Zend Server V5.1 with the previous Aura technology. After that date, Zend and IBM will no longer distribute releases that contain Aura technology.
Wait, I use that software! Does that mean my application will stop working?
Do not worry; you are fully licensed to continue to user the exiting technology shipped in previous releases and your applications will continue to run. This new software does not conflict in any way with the existing Aura toolkit. In fact, both can be used together on the same machine.
So if I upgrade to Zend Server V5.6 will the old toolkit be removed and my application stop working?
Again, do not worry; upgrades to Zend Server will not remove the previously installed toolkit. All applications utilizing this technology will continue to run.
Does this mean this software is no longer supported? What if I run into a problem?
Zend fully supports our products. Customers can still contact Zend and we will work with customers to resolve their issues our find workaround under the terms of our support SLA.
Will I be required to move my application to this new toolkit eventually? If so, how long do I have to do that?
While there is no requirement to move to this new technology in any specific time frame, this is our long term direction so customers should probably plan to migrate in the future when schedules permit.
O.K. If I do want to move to the new technology? How hard is that going to be?
Zend is supplying a set of PHP “Compatibility Wrapper” functions that greatly simplify the use of the XML Toolkit by providing higher-level abstractions, which reduce the amount of code needed for common operations. We expect this will provide the capabilities needed for most applications to transparently adopt the new technology.
Long term, users should consider rewriting their PHP code to utilize the full capabilities of the new toolkit directly. This will provide the maximum “future proofing” for customer applications as everything is based on open source that can be controlled completely.
What if I don't want to move to this new technology and I wan to stay with the Aura technology?
Aura and/or its partners continue to support the Easycom technology. Customers are free to continue to use it for as long as they wish and may engage Aura for new releases and direct support. Zend is pleased to have Aura continue to provide this technology to the PHP ecosystem. See http://www.easycom-aura.com/en/Eac_Php.asp for more details.
Help! I got a letter from Aura and/or one of their distributors saying that I had no right to use the technology after Dec 31, 2011. Is that true?
If you obtained a license for Zend Server prior to the release of Zend Server 5.6 your license to use the Easycom software will not expire as long as you are in compliance with your license terms from Zend. The Easycom software you revived from Zend is governed entirely by the Zend End User License Agreement (EULA) and no third party may modify that agreement in any way. So any statements made contrary to this are inaccurate.
Aura and/or one of their distributors are also saying there is a new version of their toolkit (V4) that is much better and faster than version included in Zend Server? Do I need this?
If you want to to explore this option with Aura you are free to do so but you are under no obligation to upgrade.
The Zend Team