Nginx is tearing up the charts and going big-time $3 million in a series A round. The company, which announced its intent to go commercial in August, is being backed by Michael Dell's MSD Capital, BV Capital, and Runa Capital. It's little wonder that the five-person company was able to land investment, as it currently powers more than 11% of all active sites on the Web.

In addition to announcing the financing today, co-founder Andrey Alexeev says that the company will be opening an office in San Francisco towards the end of the year. Alexeev says that the company will be hiring more engineers in Russia, and hiring marketing and product management (and presumably sales) staff in San Francisco.

Product plans for Nginx are a bit lighter at the moment. Alexeev says that the core of Nginx will continue to be released under the BSD-like license, but some "higher-level functionality" will be kept back. Specifically, Alexeev says that Nginx will be releasing clustering features and high availability features as part of the high-end product for paying customers.

Pricing and Support

Unfortunately, Nginx has not yet announced pricing for Nginx. Alexeev says that pricing will be "not cheap, but not too expensive. Very much in line with other vendors' propositions."

What is clear is that Nginx will need to start offering binaries for its paying customers. Alexeev says that the distributions are a bit slow to offer new releases of Nginx, so the company is providing binaries for CentOS, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu.

Rapid Growth

Nginx has been on an upward climb for some time, which no doubt prompted the founders to consider commercial opportunities. The uptake since Nginx announced commercial support has been doubly impressive. When we talked about Nginx in August, it had 9% of active sites according to Netcraft's July Web server survey. Nginx now has 11.28% of all active sites. If you look at the million busiest sites, Nginx now has 7.84% compared to 7.04% in July.

Note that the Web itself is growing, too. In July, Netcraft surveyed more than 357 million sites. In October, the survey reached more than 504 million. However you slice it, though, Nginx is climbing fast.

How Nginx scales over the next year is going to be critical. I suspect it won't be long before a Red Hat or Rackspace comes calling about buying them out, though. Nginx is quickly becoming a core technology. While Alexeev said it'd be "premature" to talk about the company going IPO or being sold, I would be surprised if they're not snapped up before too long.