One of the questions we are being asked regularly is why am I getting messages in the QSYSOPR message queue when using the i5_toolkit from Aura. The answer is very simple, before Zend upgraded to their latest version (5.6) they had an agreement with Aura equipments for the use and support of the i5_toolkit. Since 5.6 Zend have stopped the agreement with Zend and no longer ship the i5_toolkit from Aura but are pushing an open source i5_toolkit called XMLSERVICE. They also provide a set of wrappers within Zend Server which allow the original i5_toolkit() functions to be left in your code and they are automatically mapped to the XMLSERVICE functions. There are some deficiencies in the XMLSERVICE so not all of the i5_toolkit() functions are supported yet. We have already made our position clear on the performance of the XMLSERVICE versus the Aura i5_toolkit in may previous posts.
Aura have agreed to continue to support their i5_toolkit for customers who installed it as part of the Zend Server installs prior to version 5.6. This is done via the forums at http://forums.iampserver.com, you can post any questions or problems you have with your version on the forums and the technical support team at Aura will respond as soon as they can. If you have migrated to version 5.6 you need to consider retaining an Aura support contract, Zend do not support the i5_toolkit anymore and no longer ship the product as part of their 5.6 install. The cost of support is based on the IBM CPU tier of your system and in our opinion is more than fairly priced.
Why should you buy the Aura support, after all today you are getting it for free. Well there are a number of reasons.
First of all you will be entitled to the new features which are being added to the i5_toolkit, this is over and above the existing functionality which is not available in the XMLSERVICE toolkit. The product is going to be part of your business applications, so having skilled technical staff who can fix problems is something you won’t get with an open source offering. I am not against open source but when you consider the limited install base this is going to be running on and the developer network who are going to be available to maintain and improve it, it is not going to be the same as other open source product we all use and love. We have already mentioned that the i5_toolkit is better and more efficient than the XMLSERVICE, I know they have been working on improving the performance and a recent announcement did say it has improved significantly. We have not tested the latest version so cannot be sure if it is as good as the i5_toolkit from Aura, but the gap was so large we are not sure if its even worth it? Another big benefit from our standpoint is the ability to run the EASYCOM server on one IBMi and the PHP code on another IBMi or platform. This gives the user lots of benefits and may provide you with even more performance benefits over running the HTTP services on the IBMi. The latest version of the i5_toolkit from Aura is packed with additional features which make integration with IBMi objects and data much more effective, without a support contract these are not going to be available to you. At the moment Aura are also offering support for their iAMP server included with the i5_toolkit support, this means you can have full support for the entire PHP stack from one vendor and at a price that is hard to beat.
So the answer is clear, taking a support contract with Aura is going to give you access to a superior product and at a price you can afford. No up front license costs, just an annual maintenance fee. Why would you not protect your business if it is this affordable?
Contact us directly to discuss your options, you will be surprised just how affordable this is. Plus no more annoying messages in the QSYSOPR message queue.