It's been a little over two years since NGINX project lead Igor Sysoev decided to make a commercial go of the popular web server project, and now the results are here: the first commercial version of NGINX is available today.

Like the Apache web server, NGINX is an open source project. NGINX, however, is optimized to handle large-scale, high-traffic Web sites. Think Netflix, AirBnB, Instagram and Facebook—NGINX users all—and you've got a pretty good idea of scale at which the server operates.

How that user base will translate into actual sales for the new NGINX Plus product remains to be seen. But the server itself is more than just a souped-up version of the open source edition. The server software now has advanced monitoring, application health checks and dynamic configuration. NGINX is also positioning NGINX Plus as an application delivery controller, a device used to assist application servers properly load-balance their traffic in high-volume situations.

Call It Web Server Plus Alpha

This "more than a web server" approach has been a hallmark of NGINX all along. The software is very lightweight compared to other Web servers, using an asynchronous architecture to deal with thousands of requests at a time without a great deal of resources. This has made it a strong tool for caching and load balancing web sites and applications.

It's worked well for the project thus far: NGINX has made a pretty strong mark on the web server market. The most recent Netcraft survey shows the open source software as the third-most popular Web server, behind Apache and Microsoft IIS, with 14.55% of market share for all sites.

A commercial offering of NGINX has the potential of being an even stronger presence on the marketplace, especially as mobile devices and the Internet of Things ramp up traffic for Web services in the near future at what could be an exponential rate.

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