NGINX Open Source: Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

Today we announced the availability of NGINX Plus Release 6 (R6). With this milestone event in our commercial business, I thought it would be a good time to reflect back on what we have accomplished as a community and to address where we are taking NGINX from here.

Igor Sysoev
Igor Sysoev, NGINX, Inc. Co-founder & CTO

The last 12 months have been a hectic time at NGINX. We have had exceptional growth as a project, as a development team, and as a company. The number of sites using our software has grown enormously, and NGINX is now the most commonly-used web frontend for the 10,000 busiest sites on the Internet. We now count some of the most innovative developers in the world as users and as contributors – from disruptive new businesses like Airbnb and Uber to Netflix. NGINX open source has benefited from well over 100 new features and updates, and NGINX Plus has matured into a highly capable application delivery platform.

Looking Ahead

What does the future hold for NGINX and the applications we power? It’s often said that history repeats itself, but not in a circular fashion. Each time round, things get a little better. We are currently seeing a resurgence of the concept of service oriented architectures, but in a more modern, loosely-coupled, more easily developed way that’s referred to as microservices. In the fluid, turbulent, containerized environments in which many of us are building applications, NGINX is a stable and reliable foundation, both for hosting the services and for routing the traffic between them. This is shaping much of our thinking as we consider future use cases for NGINX.

The next 12 months herald some major new features for the open source NGINX project. The stories about NGINX and JavaScript will be realized – I have a working prototype of a JavaScript VM that is highly optimized for NGINX’s unique requirements and we’ve begun the task of embedding it within NGINX.

Our community of module developers is vital to the success of NGINX in the open source world. We know it’s not as easy as it could be to develop for NGINX, and to address that situation, we’re beginning the implementation of a pluggable module API in the next couple of months. Our goal is to make it simpler for our developer community to create and distribute modules for NGINX, giving users more choice and flexibility to extend the NGINX open source core. We’re also establishing a developer relations team to help support the community in this transition.

You may already have read our plan to support HTTP/2 in NGINX. We appreciate how important it is to our users that we continue to support the innovations that others are making in our space, and our HTTP/2 support will of course build on the successful SPDY implementation in use at a number of sites.

The Role of NGINX Plus

People sometimes ask about NGINX Plus and how it relates to the open source NGINX software. NGINX Plus was born from the desire to create a commercial offering that would extend the software’s capabilities and help fund the continued development of NGINX.

The two products have a lot of overlap; in fact, it’s possible to use various open source third party modules to implement much of the additional functionality in NGINX Plus. We’re completely comfortable with that. If users have the expertise, patience, and time required to maintain their own custom build of NGINX for comprehensive application delivery, then NGINX Plus is clearly not for them. However, if maintaining and supporting an application delivery platform is not your core competency or if you would prefer your technical resources directed at applications that more directly further your business, we’re here with NGINX Plus and a range of services to do that for you.

Thank you to everyone who purchased subscriptions to NGINX Plus. Not only have you received an application delivery platform that blows every commercial alternative out of the water on price/performance, you’ve also helped to support the growing engineering team in Moscow who maintain the very high standards of both NGINX and NGINX Plus.

We greatly appreciate your support, whether as a commercial user, a third-party developer, a supporter of NGINX, or just an end user of NGINX. Together, we’re making the web a better place for developers, admins, and end users. We hope that you continue to use NGINX and NGINX Plus, and in return, we remain committed to providing the most powerful, lightweight, and high-performance software to make your applications as great as they can be.

NGINX recognized by Gartner in 2016 Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers

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