Web Server Load Balancing with NGINX Plus

2018 was a great year for NGINX, our community, and our partners, with some exciting developments across both our open source and commercial platforms. From news of new investment from Goldman Sachs to launching our global partner network, 2018 has been our most successful year yet, and we hope you’ve reaped some of the rewards of our progress.

Of course, even with the best of intentions, the changes and developments announced during the last 12 months were bound to pass some of us by. With that, we’ve decided to look back over the most influential blog posts of 2018, to remind you of what we’ve worked hard on improving to make your experience of NGINX even better.

1: Advancing the NGINX Application Platform

Our vision to simplify the journey to microservices took a big step forward this year with the announcement of the NGINX Application Platform, a product suite that includes a load balancer, content cache, API gateway, WAF, and application server – all with centralized monitoring and management for monolithic apps, for microservices, and for transitional apps.

The NGINX Application Platform helps reduce architectural complexity by consolidating common functions down to far fewer components – in many cases, down to a single piece of software.

2: NGINX Plus R16 Launch

One of the year’s most important milestones in advancing NGINX’s technical vision was the release of NGINX Plus Release 16 (R16). With R16, NGINX Plus can function as a single, elastic ingress and egress tier for all of your applications. What this means is that you can consolidate the functionality of a load balancer, API gateway, and WAF into a single software package that spans any cloud.

NGINX Plus R16 includes new clustering features, enhanced UDP load balancing, and DDoS mitigation, making it a more complete replacement for costly F5 BIG-IP hardware and other load‑balancing infrastructure. New support for global rate limiting further makes NGINX Plus a lightweight alternative to many API gateway solutions. Finally, new support for Random with Two Choices load balancing makes NGINX Plus the ideal choice for load balancing microservices traffic in scaled or distributed environments, such as Kubernetes.

A nod is also due to the launch of NGINX Plus R17, which included support for TLS 1.3, the latest version of the protocol that is responsible for all secure Internet traffic. Other new features include two‑stage limit rating, easier OpenID Content configuration, and 2x‑faster NGINX WAF functionality.

3: gRPC Support with NGINX 1.13.10

The NGINX Open Source community was highly engaged with our announcement back in March of native support for gRPC traffic, released in NGINX 1.13.10. (For NGINX Plus customers, support for gRPC premiered in Release 15.) gRPC is a remote procedure call protocol, used for communication between client and server applications. This new feature builds on NGINX’s ability to proxy gRPC TCP connections, enabling you to terminate, inspect, and route gRPC method calls.

4: What Is a Service Mesh?

Interest in service mesh has been growing steadily in the past couple years, making our answer to the question, What is a Service Mesh?, well timed.

Simply put, a service mesh is a configurable infrastructure layer for a microservices application that makes communication between service instances flexible, reliable, and fast. The mesh allows for service discovery, encryption, load balancing, authentication and authorization, and support for the circuit breaker pattern, as well as other capabilities.

Since publishing this blog in April, we’ve added some great new content on the topic throughout the year, including the release in August of the The Enterprise Path to Service Mesh Architectures ebook, which is available to download for free.

Editor – NGINX Service Mesh (NSM), a fully integrated lightweight service mesh that leverages a data plane powered by NGINX Plus to manage container traffic in Kubernetes environments, is now available in a development release. Download NSM for free, try it out in your development and test environments, and give us your feedback on GitHub.

5: The Arrival of NGINX Unit

Earlier this year, we made a big announcement with the release of NGINX Unit 1.0, our dynamic web and application server. NGINX Unit manages and routes all incoming network transactions to the application through a separate “router” process, so it can rapidly implement configuration changes without interrupting service.

In Release 1.0, NGINX Unit supported Go, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby on the same server. We later added support for JavaScript (Node.js), as well as TLS, and a tech preview of support for Java was announced this month. As well as running multiple languages on a single instance of NGINX Unit, you can run applications written in multiple versions of a language, for instance, PHP 5 and PHP 7.

2018 was certainly a busy year at NGINX Towers! What was the most helpful or influential update for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to our newsletter to receive latest news and information from NGINX.

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Scott De Buitléir

Content Marketing Manager

Scott De Buitléir is Content Marketing Manager at NGINX and serves to curate relevant, interesting, and useful material for the NGINX community. His background is a combination of journalism, broadcasting, and marketing, and is based at our EMEA offices in Cork, Ireland.


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