Nginx open source server gets TCP load-balancing

The technology, which had been featured only in the company's commercial product, improves failover and apps scaling

With the release of the Nginx 1.9.0 Web server, Nginx has taken TCP load-balancing capabilities from its commercial Nginx Plus product and fitted it to the company's open source technology.

TCP load balancing improves failover consistency among worker processes, according to Nginx. The feature already has appeared in the commercial Nginx 5 and 6 products.

Nginx acknowledges TCP load-balancing as a back-end plumbing feature but stresses its importance. "This plumbing allows the applications to scale to huge amounts of traffic," said Owen Garrett, Nginx head of product, in an interview "It gives visibility and control over those types of traffic so that you can manage the application more effectively." Reliability also is provided, with the application maintained without end users being interrupted.

TCP load-balancing assists with the mobile and Internet of things realms. "As we move to mobile and Internet of things and more of a disparate type of applications connecting with a plethora of devices, TCP load-balancing is becoming more and more important," said Peter Guagenti, Nginx vice president of marketing, also in an interview.

The open source Nginx product is used by 140 million Web sites worldwide. Nginx surpassed Apache as the most popular Web server among the top 1,000 Web sites in 2014 as ranked by Alexa.

"We added TCP [load balancing] to Nginx Plus last year and in this change, we ported some of the commercial functionality into the open source product. And our goal is to use commercial product to sustain and support and fund the ongoing development of the open source product," Garrett said. The commercial product has extra enterprise capabilities not featured in the open source version, such as deeper control of the product and more visibility. Nginx last week also released version 1.8, billed as a stable branch of the technology, while 1.9 is a new mainline branch for development of new features.

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