Oracle fixes glitch in PHP Web applications

New driver better links databases and open source apps

Oracle has released a database driver free to the open source community that improves retrieval of data from Oracle databases for Web applications developed using PHP.

Oracle released Oracle Call Interface (OCI8), and the code used to write it, this week to a PHP community conference in San Francisco hosted by Zend Technologies, a developer of Web applications based on the PHP script.

The new driver fixes a problem faced by PHP-based Web applications trying to access Oracle databases, overwhelming the databases with requests, says Mark de Visser, chief marketing officer for Zend.

"So many sessions meant that it consumed resources on the server every time a new Web user would come in. Databases would just go to their knees on scalability issues like that," de Visser says. "Everybody in the industry who uses Oracle and PHP knows what this is about."

The solution is better connection pooling on the server and a high-performance driver built into the PHP application, de Visser says.

With OCI8, Oracle says, a single industry-standard server can support tens of thousands of database connections and provide higher availability than without it.

"We expect to further strengthen PHP as a tool of choice and expand use of Oracle databases for Web 2.0 and ... enterprise application deployments," said Ken Jacobs, Oracle's vice president of product strategy for server technologies, in a prepared statement.

Not everyone in the open source community has welcomed Oracle's involvement. Late last year, Oracle announced plans to offer support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux at half the price of what Red Hat was offering. That rankled Red Hat executives who at one point claimed Oracle was exaggerating the number of Red Hat customers it won over to Oracle support.

De Visser declined to compare Oracle's level of open source commitment with that of other companies, but said that by open-sourcing OCI8, Oracle is endorsing PHP as the scripting language used for one-fourth to one-third of Web applications on the Internet.

"They have been criticized by some for their role in Linux, but at the same time, from the viewpoint of the world of PHP ... they are a very good collaborator," de Visser says.

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Robert Mullins

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