Nginx web server goes commercial with a new version

NGINX is now the second most used web server software among the top million websites, according to Netcraft.

Nginx is launching a commercial edition of its namesake open source web server software, called Nginx Plus, which it will market as a software alternative to Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs).

“The features that have been added are very similar to what you would find in hardware-based ADCs,” said Gus Robertson, CEO of Nginx. “We are an alternative to Apache, but I think we are also an alternative to hardware-based application delivery controllers.”

Robertson said the software will provide functionality similar to ADC appliances from F5 Networks or Citrix, which are used to accelerate the delivery of high traffic websites through load balancing and caching techniques.

Nginx has already made a name for itself as a web server capable of handling large volumes of traffic very efficiently.

Russian system administrator Igor Sysoev released the first version of Nginx in 2004 under BSD open source license, after being frustrated by what he considered to be the limitations of the industry-leading Apache web server software.

Sysoev specially designed Nginx (pronounced “Engine X”) to handle large volumes of traffic, up to 10,000 simultaneous connections per server. It includes advanced traffic management features often found in ADCs, such as load balancing, edge caching, and reverse proxy services.

According to the company, Nginx is now the most widely used web server software among the 1000 most visited sites in the world. Web heavyweights such as Netflix, Hulu, Pinterest, AirBnB, WordPress.com, GitHub, SoundCloud, Zynga, Eventbrite, and Zappos have all used Nginx to serve their sites.

The software now manages about 100 million websites in total, or about 14.55 percent of the web, according to the latest Netcraft internet survey.

Sysoev founded Nginx the company in 2011, and took on the role of CTO. Nginx has attracted US $ 3 million first round of venture capital funding. It currently employs about fifteen people. Robertson took office as CEO in April; previously he was vice president of global business development for Red Hat, another open source software company.

Until now, Nginx, the company, has mainly offered subscription support services for open source software, around performance configuration and tuning, performance tuning, and technical account management. Nginx Plus is the company’s first commercial product.

Under a dual license, the commercial version of Nginx will offer additional features compared to the open source version available for free.

“The advanced functionality enhances the capabilities of Nginx for load balancing, request routing, health monitoring, and general monitoring and control of Nginx instances in critical environments,” said Andrew Alexeev , co-founder and head of business development for Nginx.

One of the most important new features is the ability to make configuration changes to a running copy of Nginx, without needing to restart the software for the changes to take effect. Typically, changes to the configuration of web server software, such as Nginx or Apache, require shutting down and then restarting the software, which can temporarily disrupt operations.

“Even soft restarts can affect operation and add a slight overhead. [Users] wanting to change aspects of Nginx on the fly, ”Alexeev said.

Along with monitoring, the commercial package provides metrics of a running copy of Nginx, in JavaScript Simple Object Notation (JSON) format. “You can import these metrics into any standard commercial or open source monitoring system, or you can use your own template via HTML or JavaScript,” Alexeev said. The software package also comes with its own metrics dashboard.

The health check can alert an administrator when a major component of a web application has failed, such as the database. It does this by comparing the size of a new web page with the size it should be. It can also automatically terminate servers that rely on failed components. Nginx also worked with New Relic to integrate data generated from health checks for display in New Relic’s Application Performance Management (APM) software.

Other commercial edition features include additional load balancing capabilities and advanced media streaming for Adobe HDS and Apple HLS video formats.

Although Nginx Plus should run on any standard Linux distribution, Nginx has certified that the software works on Amazon Linux, Red Hat, CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian distributions.

Nginx Plus will cost $ 1,350 per instance per year and is available now.

Joab Jackson covers the latest business software and general technology news for The IDG information service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab’s email address is [email protected]

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Software TagsWebNGINX Servers



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