Earlier this month, NGINX released the latest version of its flagship software, NGINX Plus R15, and announced the upcoming launches of NGINX Unit 1.0 and NGINX Controller R1.
The NGINX application platform powers load balancers, microservices and API gateways. These launches improve on the current application platform and the products it offers, and particularly focus on simplifying “the journey to microservices”. The overall mission of the company is to make current technologies and software easier for DevOps to manage, particularly inside companies with complex infrastructures and application stacks that may not have had a system-wide upgrade in some time. Additionally, as companies have begun to migrate to microservices, they frequently have the legacy infrastructure and microservices initiatives running side by side, which are sometimes even monitored and run by different internal teams, which further complicates operations and leads to unnecessary complexity. NGINX wants companies to use NGINX Plus to simplify their infrastructure by consolidating onto NGINX Plus.
The NGINX application platform consolidates common functions down to as few components as possible, sometimes down to a single piece of software. In a public cloud environment, NGINX Plus can be used for the majority of a company’s load balancing as it is a full-featured HTTP, TCP and UDP load balancer. The NGINX Unit serves as a simple application server, on which developers can build applications. It supports multiple languages, enabling organizations to consolidate their application servers. Through NGINX Controller, DevOps can monitor and manage their entire set of NGINX Plus instances from just one point of control.
The new NGINX Plus R15 contains numerous enhancements that will assist in a wide variety of use cases, and address load balancing, service mesh and API gateway use cases:
- Support for gRPC. NGINX Plus R15 can proxy gRPC traffic, which is used for both service to service and client to service communications.
- HTTP/2 server push. NGINX Plus R15 can push content to the browser in advance of an actual request, reducing round trips and heightening performance, by anticipating user needs.
- OpenID Connect Single Sign‑On (SSO). NGINX Plus R15 links to Okta, OneLogin, and other identity providers to enable SSO for modern and legacy applications; which extends NGINX Plus as an API gateway.
- Clustering support and state sharing. Sticky Learn session persistence can be used in a cluster. Looking ahead, the next iteration of NGINX Plus will include additional clustering features, aimed at making the application platform more reliable and easier to manage in large deployments.
Since its release in 2013, the open source NGINX application platform has become extremely popular. It is downloaded around 11 million times each month, or four instances every second. Three million of these instances are running in production microservices environments, and one million are running as a Kubernetes Ingress controller. Around 250 NGINX customers are running NGINX Plus in production microservices as a load balancer, API gateway, reverse proxy and/or Kubernetes Ingress controller. NGINX says it believes that it has “the largest footprint of software running in such environments”.