Nginx Inc today released the second milestone update so far in 2015 of its Nginx Plux web server. The Nginx Plus R7 update follows the the R6 update that debuted in April.
The Nginx Plus web server first emerged in 2013 as a bundled enterprise package that expands on the capabilities of the open-source Nginx web server.
Among the big new features in Nginx Plus R7 is full support for the new HTTP/2 web standard. HTTP/2 is the next generation of the HTTP protocol that powers the modern web.
On February 18, Mark Nottingham, chair of the IETF HTTP Working Group, declared that HTTP/2 is done. Nginx has been supporting the Google-backed SPDY protocol for several years and is already well positioned for HTTP/2, which is based in part on SPDY.
While the commercial Nginx Plus R7 web server now has official support for HTTP/2, the open-source edition does not, yet. In a comment on the Nginx site, Nginx Digital Marketing Manger Patrick Nommensen wrote that HTTP/2 support in the open-source Nginx is coming soon.
"HTTP/2 will be released into NGINX open source following today's announcement of NGINX Plus R7," Nommensen wrote.
Thread Pool Optimization for Even Better Performance
HTTP/2 offers the promise of some incremental performance gains, but Nginx is going beyond that by supporting new thread pool optimization that could increase performance by a factor of 9x.
"Thread pools is a great feature that pushes NGINX to new levels of performance by eliminating one of its well-known and long-time enemies – blocking – especially when we are speaking about really large volumes of content," Nginx developer Valentin Bartenev wrote in a blog post.
From a security perspective, Nginx Plus R7 introduces load balancing and TCP proxy features that can enhance IP address-based access control. Nginx is now also adding NTLM authentication support to help enable connectivity to Microsoft applications.
"You can now confidently deploy NGINX as a proxy, load balancer, and HTTP/2 accelerator in front of Microsoft applications, supporting the widest possible range of client devices," Owen Garrett, head of product at Nginx, wrote in a blog post.
Nginx Plus has always been about improved monitoring and dashboard visibility, and those areas are being further improved in the R7 release. In particular, the Dashboard now has a new overview tab that provides a summary of web server activity, with an integrated tab view for additional deeper level visibility.