Catching Up with the NGINX Application Platform: What’s New in 2019


More than ever before, enterprises are recognizing that digital transformation is critical to their survival. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that executives currently see legacy operations and infrastructure as the #1 risk factor jeopardizing their ability to compete with companies that are “born digital”.

Cloud, DevOps, and microservices are key technologies that accelerate digital transformation initiatives. And they’re paying off at companies that leverage them – according to a study from Freeform Dynamics, commissioned by CA Technologies, organizations that have adopted DevOps practices have achieved 60% higher growth in revenue and profits than their peers, and are 2x more likely to be growing at more than 20% annually. Enterprises are also modernizing their app architectures – 86% of respondents in a survey commissioned by LightStep expect microservices to be their default architecture in 5 years.

We unveiled the NGINX Application Platform in late 2017 to enable enterprises undergoing digital transformation to modernize legacy, monolithic applications as well as deliver new, microservices‑based applications and APIs at scale across a multi‑cloud environment. Enterprises deploy the NGINX Application Platform to improve agility, accelerate performance, and reduce capital and operational costs. Since the launch, we have been introducing enterprise‑grade capabilities at a regular pace to all of the component solutions, including NGINX Controller, NGINX Plus, and NGINX Unit. This blog outlines key updates to the NGINX Application Platform and the NGINX Ingress Controller for Kubernetes since the beginning of 2019.

The following table summarizes the new features and benefits introduced to each component since the beginning of 2019. For details, see the linked sections that follow.

Component Feature Benefits
NGINX Controller Load Balancing Module Policy‑based approach to configuration management using configuration templates Prevent misconfigurations and ensure consistency

Save time

Easily scale application of configurations across multiple NGINX Plus instances

ServiceNow integration Streamline troubleshooting workflows
NGINX Controller API Management Module Filtering and searching

Environment‑specific API definition visualizations

Improved usability:

  • More flexible API definition
  • Easy to filter and search by hostname and APIs
NGINX Plus Dynamic certificate loading

Shared configuration across cluster members

Simplified configuration workflows
Support for port ranges in server listen configuration NGINX Plus can be deployed as a proxy for an FTP server in passive mode
Certificates and keys can be stored in in‑memory key‑value store

Support for opaque session tokens

Enhanced security:

  • Secrets cannot be obtained from deployment images or filesystem backups
  • No personally identifiable information is stored on the client
TCP connection can be closed immediately when the server goes offline Improved reliability:

  • Client reconnects to a healthy server right away, eliminating delays due to timeout
NGINX Unit Experimental (beta-level) support for Java servlet containers Support for the most popular enterprise programming language brings the number of supported languages to seven
Internal routing Multiple applications can be hosted on the same IP address and port

Granular control of the target application

NGINX Ingress Controller for Kubernetes NGINX custom resources Using native Kubernetes-style API simplifies configuration
Additional Prometheus metrics Quick detection of performance and availability issues with the Ingress Controller itself
Load balancing traffic to external resources Easier migration to Kubernetes environments
Dedicated Helm chart repository Easy and effortless deployment of NGINX in Kubernetes environments

Updates in NGINX Controller 2.0–2.4

We have adopted a SaaS‑like upgrade cadence for NGINX Controller – we release a new version consisting of new features (sometimes minor, sometimes major) and bug fixes on a monthly basis.

Load Balancing Module in NGINX Controller 2.0–2.4

The Load Balancing Module in NGINX Controller enables you to configure, validate, and monitor all your NGINX Plus load balancers at scale across a multi‑cloud environment.

There are two primary enhancements to the Load Balancing Module:

For more details about the changes to the Load Balancing Module, see our blog.

API Management Module in NGINX Controller 2.0 –2.4

The API Management Module empowers Infrastructure & Operations and DevOps teams to achieve full API lifecycle management including defining, publishing, securing, managing traffic, and monitoring APIs, without compromising performance. Built on an innovative architecture, and using NGINX as the data‑plane component, it is well‑suited to the needs of both traditional applications and modern distributed applications based on microservices.

The API Management Module became generally available in January of 2019. Since then, we’ve been hard at work on usability improvements to the API Definitions interface:

For details on defining APIs with the API Management Module, see our blog.

NGINX Plus R18

NGINX Plus’ flexibility, portability, and seamless integration with CI/CD automation tools help accelerate enterprise adoption of DevOps. NGINX Plus R18 advances this objective by simplifying configuration workflows and enhancing the security and reliability of your applications. Key enhancements in NGINX Plus R18 include:

For more details about NGINX Plus R18, see our blog.

NGINX Unit 1.8.0

NGINX Unit is an open source lightweight, flexible, dynamic, polyglot app server that currently supports seven different languages. So far this year we have improved NGINX Unit with:

For more details about NGINX Unit 1.8.0, see our blog.

NGINX Ingress Controller for Kubernetes 1.5.0

NGINX is the most deployed Ingress controller in Kubernetes environments. The NGINX Ingress Controller for Kubernetes provides advanced load balancing capabilities including session persistence, WebSocket, HTTP/2, and gRPC for complex applications consisting of many microservices. Release 1.5.0 introduces the following capabilities:

For more details about NGINX Ingress Controller for Kubernetes 1.5.0, see our blog.

Continued Investments in NGINX

Looking ahead, now that we are part of F5 Networks we are planning to bolster our investments in open source as well as the NGINX Application Platform. F5 is committed to the NGINX open source technology, developers, and community. We anticipate that the additional investments will inject new vigor into open source initiatives and will enable us to develop open source features, host more open source events, and produce more open source content. Read this blog from Gus Robertson, GM of the NGINX business unit, on F5’s commitment to open source.

We also expect more cross‑pollination across our solutions – we want to leverage the rich security capabilities that F5 offers and embed them into NGINX solutions. F5 solutions will become more agile, flexible, and portable without compromising on reliability, security, and governance. We are excited for what comes next. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn about updates to the NGINX Application Platform.

Please attend NGINX Conf 2019 to learn more about our vision for the future with F5. You will hear about new product releases and our roadmap plans as well as have an opportunity to learn from industry luminaries.

Retrieved by Nick Shadrin from website.