Web Server Load Balancing with NGINX Plus


Achieving High Performance and Reliability in a Cost‑Effective Way
San Jose, California
Use Cases

Adobe Systems is the world’s largest provider of creative software, from Photoshop to After Effects.


Needed a reliable, cost‑effective way to manage billions of API requests.


Stable, Scalable NGINX API Gateway

Unified Infrastructure Components

Cost icon

Less Expensive than Competition


Adobe Systems is large enough to have introduced a new verb into the English language: to Photoshop. The company’s popular photo retouching tool is used around the globe alongside its other tools for page layout, video editing, and Web design. As a global provider of essential tools which are now provided online as services, Adobe faces many challenges as it capitalizes on its move from boxed software to subscription-based cloud services offerings.


Adobe Systems has over 10,000 internal developers, all of whom need to build with the many APIs the company has developed to perform its daily business. These developers work at different times, but often overlap, and can put high demand on internal systems.

Additionally, the Adobe team wished to allow external parties to develop extensions, add-ons, and integrations to existing Adobe products and services, thus requiring external access to those same internal development APIs.

The most important factor for Adobe when choosing an API gateway was stability. This was followed closely by performance and the ability to minimize latency. With millions of requests per day, and billions per year, the solution had to be highly scalable, but also affordable.

Adobe initially utilized a commercial API gateway solution to manage and route this type of traffic. The team quickly found, however, that internal developers were already deploying NGINX in front of all internal APIs and applications. It was decided that NGINX could handle all of the needed API gateway tasks without the need for the expensive commercial gateway.


In the end, the entire Adobe I/O platform was transitioned to an NGINX API gateway. This brought immediate benefits and saved money, said Dragos Dascalita Haut, solutions architect at Adobe.

“Before implementing our own API gateway, we used to work with a different commercial product that was doing the gateway for us. Then an idea dawned on us that we could build our vision for API management inside of NGINX. By the beginning of the next year we were already able to publish the first version of our gateway and have our internal teams use it,” said Haut.

While NGINX had already proved itself as a load balancer for internal services, Haut said it was the reliability and performance that really won it the API gateway job.

The first benefit that matters to us a lot is the fact that it is very stable. The second thing is that it’s super fast, and the third thing is that it doesn’t need a lot of resources to run. I was running NGINX on my [desktop] machine inside a Docker container, and it was capable of performing over 100,000 requests per second with only two CPUs. The performance, the stability, and the latency are key factors for us. NGINX wins at the performance.
– Dragos Dascalita Haut, Solutions Architect at Adobe.


Adobe’s internal and external API users now all route through NGINX. Adobe I/O is able to act as a one-stop shop for all developers that need to work with Adobe products via APIs. Millions of requests per day are handled at scale with no latency introduced by the new NGINX API Gateway.

About Adobe

With over $7 billion in annual revenues,Adobe Systems is one of the world’s largest software providers. While the company became famous for its nearly ubiquitous publishing software, Postscript, it was Photoshop, it’s popular photo retouching tool, that became a verb. Adobe now employs over 18,000 people worldwide, and offers online versions of its artistic and creative tools. Adobe has transitioned its main lines of business to the Web, providing its tools as online services, and completely changing its business model from purchase-based to subscription-based by successfully embracing agility and cloud-based development.