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​NGINX builds platform for application development and delivery

Apache competitor aims to offer improvements across the board for with its new application suite.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor
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Web server and application delivery company NGINX has unveiled a suite of products that will allow teams to build or modernise applications using DevOps tools and includes best practices for cloud, containers, and microservices.

Its new NGINX Application Platform combines application delivery tools, an application server and policy-driven monitoring and management, the company said.

Until now, these services, where available, have existed as separate, discrete systems. NGINX believes that the new platform will provide a number of benefits including, "added agility, stability, improved governance, and visibility".

The new or updated services announced are:

NGINX Plus - a combined load balancer, content cache and web server. This is an extension to open source NGINX with new features and support. This is the server's thirteenth release.

NGINX Controller: a centralized management and monitoring platform for NGINX Plus, this will orchestrate the delivery of applications across multiple environments. The idea is that this will help with continuous deployment and will update applications using tested policies.

NGINX said that using this, organisations can see how traffic is being routed through all NGINX Plus instances and do so through "a single pane of glass". Organisations will be able to define and execute policies that control how NGINX Plus performs load balancing, content caching, and other key application delivery functions, the company said.

NGINX Unit: The company reckons that this is the, "dynamic server for modern applications" and will take account of the increasing adoption of microservices that mean that organizations are deploying new features and functionality much more frequently. This is a multi-language server for applications and is designed to work in dynamic environments, the company said. It features a full REST API, "that can be fully automated and used to deploy new application versions with no service disruption". It will support PHP, Python and Go and more language support is, "coming soon", the company said.

The NGINX Web Application Firewall (WAF): This is powered by ModSecurity, to protect web applications against various Layer 7 attacks and provide DDoS mitigation, real‑time blacklisting, and audit logging. It was first introduced as part of NGINX Plus Release 12 in May 2017. The company reckons that more than one million sites use it today.

Commenting on the announcement, NGINX's CEO, Gus Robertson said that he believed that one of the big changes in IT over recent years has been, "an opportunity to reach a broader audience and customer-base than ever before".

Along with the Application Platform, NGINX has added the ability to use NGINX Plus as a Kubernetes Ingress Controller. Based on the open source NGINX Ingress Controller for Kubernetes, this feature allows organizations to deploy applications within Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShiftacross a cluster so they can be reached by outside traffic.

NGINX also announced an open source implementation of nginx as a service proxy for layer 7 load balancing and proxying within the Istio platform. It will provide key capabilities and integration for, "visibility and deployment flexibility", the company said and in addition, NGINX will, "collaborate as part of the Istio community by joining the Istio networking group", the company said.

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