NGINX Further Blurs Web and App Server Lines

Mike Vizard
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Rethinking Application Performance in the Digital Business Era

As part of an effort to improve the performance of Web applications, NGINX continues to blur the line between where a Web server, also known as an application delivery controller, ends and an application server begins.

The latest version of NGINX Plus, the enterprise edition of the open source web server, now includes support for load balancing using the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) as well as the ability to plug a variety of extensions into the web server.

NGINX has also changed the pricing model for NGINX Plus R9. Faisal Memon, technical product marketer for NGINX, says paying per instance or machine hour for software no longer makes financial sense. A new pricing structure provides “all you can eat” usage of NGINX Plus for one flat-rate price per application per year. NGINX has now adopted a three-tier support model for NGINX Plus as well.

Now that UDP is gaining momentum in emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications, many of the functions once handled by an application server can be moved into the Web server. Memon says that doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for an application server as much as it makes for a more efficient way to serve up applications.

At the same time, Memon notes that via support for dynamic modules, it’s now simpler for third parties to embed modules directly in the NGINX repository, which should serve to make those modules both more accessible and ultimately perform better when invoking the NGINX run-time engine. A well-defined set of application programming interfaces makes it much simpler to swap modules in and out of the repository, says Memon.

While open source NGINX web server software is widely used in public clouds, NGINX is betting that as it adds features to the commercially supported edition, many IT organizations will be willing to pay for NGINX Plus. The degree to which that happens remains to be seen. But as a force to be reckoned with in the cloud, NGINX is most certainly making its presence broadly felt.



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