Well now back after a few weeks caught between the new baby and closing out a few projects.
Still getting more goodness from Zend Framework, as we replace a lot of our home grown code with framework components. The latest has been replacing custom login queries with Zend Auth (http://www.framework.zend.com/manual/en/zend.auth.html) In 15 minutes the connection initialization, was gone and we are now good to go. Next on the table is to integrate OpenID and Facebook logins, so I’ll keep you posted.
One of the things Zend Framework is known for is being slow, while we cannot use APC, XCache in shared hosting environments, we have used the Page front end to cache the different pages to improve performance. We are using cookie, GET and session parameters when generating the cache_id so that different users can be supported.
For the time being it seems to improve the performance, but only time will tell as we use it