Zend Server is awesome
As a Zend Certified Engineer, I get a free Zend Server license. This is a $1,695 value, so definitely worth the effort of getting certified.
It has been a few years since I last tried Zend Server, and it didn’t go well. It was buggy, awkward to use, and difficult to install. Since I just ordered a new server, I decided to give it another try. It is awesome.
Installation was incredibly easy. I use CentOS. Zend Server has its own yum repositories so I just had to set them up on my new server and type “yum install zend-server”. Bam. PHP was installed.
Fake Name Generator has lots of special requirements. I normally spend an entire day getting PHP configured and dependencies installed whenever I get a new server. With Zend Server, it took maybe 5 minutes to figure out which pear packages I needed and then I was good to go. Zend Server’s PHP already had almost everything I needed installed.
Updating is also easy. This is normally a frustrating 30-60 minute process that often results in down time when things go wrong. A day after I installed Zend Server a notice was sent out about a critical security update. I ran “yum update” and I was up-to-date in just a few seconds.
Zend Server logs potential issues. I can easily see PHP errors, scripts that are taking too much memory or too long to run, and a pile of other issues. I can also customize my php.ini from within the web GUI. Not amazing, but a nice little perk.
Finally, Zend Server integrates with Zend Studio (also free for Zend Certified Engineers). When Zend Server logs an issue, I can click a debug button in the web GUI and it sends the issue to my IDE for debugging. It is a bit finicky, but still very awesome. It also lets me easily profile my sites.
So basically Zend Server is pretty awesome. I wish I had started using it earlier. I’m pretty comfortable setting things up on my own, so I don’t think it is worth $1,695 to me, but it is definitely worth using since it is free for me.