Engine of disruption

Nginx interview: Going enterprise and launching Nginx Plus r4

Coman Hamilton

CEO Gus Robertson talks about the company’s growing user base and what it is that’s made Nginx the most popular web server

The lightweight web server and reverse proxy Nginx has expanded its offering on Nginx Plus to include Amazon Web Services with both hourly and yearly pricing. The open-source web server has also launched a new product specifically for sites streaming video.

The new release is also said to ease the deployment of application components across clouds. Meanwhile, the enterprise edition of Nginx, which integrates seamlessly with AWS services, is adding improved performance and advanced features like WebSocket proxying, SSL and SPDY termination.

Nginx CEO Gus Robertson told us that Nginx isn’t stopping with AWS. “We are already in discussions with a number of cloud providers and would expect to see similar offerings available by the end of the calendar year.”

The web server has already drawn in a number of prominent Silicon Valley clients like Dropbox and Facebook. What about more traditional enterprises like banks?

“We see particularly high adoption with e-retailers, media and entertainment, software as a service, and government agencies.”

And although it has established itself as a favourite among newer and dynamic websites (Netflix, Dropbox and Facebook to mention a few), Robertson says Nginx has started to see a number of financial institutions and government agencies using their service in order to modernise and increase performance.

An engine of disruption

“The modern world is being disrupted by new companies that are changing the user experience. For example, think of what Uber has done to the taxi industry. Existing enterprises can’t be complacent and expect their customers to be satisfied with a sub-optimal user experience. They need to innovate to maintain their competitive advantage.”

Nginx’s open-source web server was originally designed to compensate for areas where Apache’s web server was lacking. The latter will often slow down when faced with a heavy load, while it can lead multiple threads to compete for memory and CPU, whereas Nginx handles its threads differently to Apache, and does not create a new process for each web request.

Nginx vs Apache

While Apache’s experience in the field goes a long way, Nginx’s web server has received much acclaim for its superior speed and easy configuration. Indeed, while Apache’s numbers are slowly sinking, Nginx has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity.

Robertson told us that more a third of all sites on AWS are now running Nginx – putting it ahead of Apache (27%) and Microsoft IIS (14%). That makes it the most popular web server on AWS. But it’s not only on AWS that Nginx is doing well. Of the world’s 10,000 busiest sites, 40% are using their server.

SEE ALSO: Why Nginx is outmaneuvering Apache

Nginx’s open-source approach also has proved a success to the company, says Robertson. “The one major advantage is that we have over 140 million websites using the technology, which means Nginx has been fully tested in the field for over ten years with a huge variety of different sites in a multitude of use cases. There is no better R&D than that.”

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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