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New Release of NGINX Plus Adds Delivery, Operation Improvements for Web Apps

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NGINX Plus R8, the latest release of NGINX’s application delivery platform, was released this week debuting the first support of OAuth-based authentication and other features to improve the delivery and operation of complex and high-performance web applications.

OAuth-Based Authentication Preview

OAuth-based authentication exists in preview mode in NGINX Plus R8. The way it works is that NGINX Plus sits in front of the application as a reverse proxy and load balancer that offloads the OAuth processing from application servers, simplifying application development and offloading complex authentication tasks.

OAuth-based authentication has become the industry standard for authentication and authorization and provides single-sign-on capabilities for applications, as well as access controls for APIs. It also lets users easily use existing credentials from an authorization server such as Facebook or Google.

HTTP/2 Support

It also features production-ready HTTP/2 support just months after the protocol was ratified. NGINX already is the #1 web server for HTTP/2, and the latest release moves towards a more production ready and hardened implementation of the new HTTP/2 web standard which improves performance of websites by up to 30 percent. NGINX Plus R8 lets organizations add HTTP/2 support to their new and existing sites with no changes to their application.

Configuration Updates without Restarts

There’s also a persistent on-the-fly reconfiguration API that lets organizations add and remove upstream servers, and change load-balancing configuration and priorities without restarting NGINX Plus. Changes made on the fly persist across a restart or configuration reload. This enables customers to modify the load balancing pool on demand, which is especially relevant for auto-scaling and service discovery.

Scalable Caching for Large Video Files

NGINX Plus R8’s improved scalable content cache can handles large video files like HTML5 video by breaking up files into smaller fragments and then caching those fragments rather than storing the entire video as a single cache entry. This helps reduce user latency as well as network traffic to and from origin servers.

In addition, there are some refinements such as more flexible health checks for complex applications, and the ability to specify an alternate port for a given service if a port fails.

This latest release is significant for NGINX, which formed in 2011 and grew to be the top web server for the top 100,000 websites in 2015. NGINX Plus, its first commercial product, only launched in 2013. The technologies it is incorporating will be used by some of the largest websites and applications.

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About the Author

David Hamilton is a technology journalist and Contributing Editor of the WHIR. Based in Toronto, David has covered the hosting industry internationally for the WHIR with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. He has written for the National Post and other news outlets, and is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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