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Nginx debuts in Australia amid growing demand for microservices

The supplier of an open-source application platform is counting on the growing usage of microservices in the perennial search for agility and responsiveness among enterprises

Nginx, the company that supports the operation of around 450 million global websites – including those of Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest – has set up shop in Australia to support companies embracing microservices.

The company was established in 2011 to provide commercial services around the Nginx open source application platform first developed in 2002 to help websites scale and load-balance. Sydney-born CEO Gus Robertson joined the company from Red Hat in 2012.

During a visit to Sydney to announce the opening of a local three-person office, Robertson said the company now supports more than half (53.5%) of the world’s busiest websites with tools that can allow several hundred thousand people – a million-plus in some cases – to access a website simultaneously.

The open source software is remarkably lightweight for what it delivers, with fewer than 200,000 lines of code contained in less than 2.5MB.

In Australia, the only user Nginx was prepared to name was Telstra, which in 2016 invested $8m in Nginx through its Telstra Ventures group. Robertson said that around 10% of all Nginx customers were based in Australia or New Zealand.

While Nginx’s heritage is in optimising website operations, its future may lie in supporting enterprise microservices endeavours.

This month, it announced upgrades for its applications platform designed to speed up the integration of microservices and legacy software, as well as simplify the roll-out of microservices within a single framework so enterprises can roll out new features weekly or daily without interrupting normal business operations.

Nginx already claims a dominant position in microservices, noting that more than 11 million new domains are launched on its platform each month, and that developers have pulled a billion Nginx instances from the Docker Store, including more than a million Kubernetes ingress controllers.

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According to Nginx, the appetite for microservices has reached a tipping point. It cited a DZone survey, which said over half of companies have deployed microservices for at least one application, with just over a quarter doing so in production.

Robertson said out of Nginx’s 1,500 customer base worldwide, around 250 were transitioning to microservices. Companies, he said, wanted to roll out modern apps that look like Netflix or Airbnb, and not like a mainframe application.

In the search for agility and responsiveness, Robertson said customers are shifting from service-oriented architectures to microservices and distributed applications. “The downside is the complexity,” he added.

According to Robertson, the leading adopters of microservices are software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, financial services companies, media entities and retailers.

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