PHP 7 is gaining momentum!

We’re now a few months since PHP 7 came out, and if you’ve been following what’s going on in the PHP world, things are looking pretty exciting!

First, InfoWorld gave PHP 7 the 2016 Technology of the Year Award, which is quite remarkable. Remarkable is also how InfoWorld chose to describe the performance gains that are promised by PHP 7 – and I absolutely agree. Memory has never been a strong point for me – so take this with a grain of salt, but I believe it’s the first time InfoWorld is bestowing that honor on PHP. We’ll take it!

However, those of you with at least some experience in the tech world know that whenever performance is on the table, talking the talk is one thing, walking the walk is another matter entirely. It tends to be somewhat like promotions you see in stores – “Up to 40% off” is typically another way of saying “we guarantee you’re going to pay at least 60% of the list price, but more likely, it’ll be close to 100%.” With benchmarks, “Up to 2x faster,” typically means “it’s a bit faster, and we managed to find one synthetic benchmark that nobody would ever use in the real world that runs twice as fast.”

Not so with PHP 7!

As more and more people are trying PHP 7 out, we’re seeing more and more evidence that the promise of 2x performance is being realized, big time. Most recently, Badoo published an article detailing their experience migrating for PHP 5.6 to 7.0 – which allowed them to literally spin down half of their servers, and still see better end user experience compared to what they had before:

CPU load (%) on the mobile backend cluster - Image from Badoo Technologies.

CPU load (%) on the mobile backend cluster – Image from Badoo Tech.

In addition, memory usage fell off a cliff, from ~37MB per request to around 5MB per request – or around eight times over:

Memory usage - Image from Badoo Tech.

Memory usage – Image from Badoo Tech.

They estimate that the PHP 7 upgrade in their app server cluster translated into $1M in hardware savings plus $100K in yearly hosting savings – and that’s before factoring in TCO costs, as well as savings they’ve seen in other assets they upgraded to PHP 7. It’s the real deal!

To be honest, I can’t recall anything similar in the software space. Perhaps it’s my senility kicking in again, but being able to halve your hardware after a mostly painless software upgrade – I don’t remember anything quite like that ever.

I’d like to take the opportunity to re-thank Zend’s own Dmitry Stogov, who spearheaded the development of the PHP 7 engine, and everyone else who helped – including Xinchen Hui, Nikita Popov, and others. Thanks to you, PHP is more relevant than ever – with much more to come!

Last, if you want to have an exceptionally easy way to get started with PHP 7 – the best way is with Zend Server for PHP 7 preview. Of course, it comes bundled with Z-Ray, which in addition to being an amazing feature in general, can also help you quite a bit as you port your code to work on PHP 7, pointing out any issues (including @-supressed warnings and errors). And if you want more hands-on guidance, Zend is there to help!

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    Zeev Suraski

    Zeev Suraski is CTO and VP of engineering at Rogue Wave Software, leading the Zend research and development teams. One of the principal authors of the PHP programming language, Zeev’s involvement with PHP dates back to 1997 when he co-created the foundation for PHP 3 - the first version of PHP that resembles modern PHP. Zeev later spearheaded the PHP 4 project - which made PHP the most popular development language in the world for web apps, contributed to PHP 5, and is to blame for the sixth version of PHP being named PHP 7. Zeev co-founded Zend Technologies (later acquired by Rogue Wave) in 1999. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

    About Zeev Suraski

    Zeev Suraski is CTO and VP of engineering at Rogue Wave Software, leading the Zend research and development teams. One of the principal authors of the PHP programming language, Zeev’s involvement with PHP dates back to 1997 when he co-created the foundation for PHP 3 - the first version of PHP that resembles modern PHP. Zeev later spearheaded the PHP 4 project - which made PHP the most popular development language in the world for web apps, contributed to PHP 5, and is to blame for the sixth version of PHP being named PHP 7. Zeev co-founded Zend Technologies (later acquired by Rogue Wave) in 1999. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

    • Kian

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