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InfoQ Homepage News NGINX Releases Controller 3.0 with Major Redesign Providing Consolidated Application View

NGINX Releases Controller 3.0 with Major Redesign Providing Consolidated Application View

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NGINX announced the release of NGINX Controller 3.0, their control-plane solution to manage the NGINX data plane. The 3.0 release sees a full redesign of Controller moving it into an "app-centric experience" that allows for interacting with the infrastructure at the application level. This includes a full configuration API, a role based self-service portal, and a built in certificate manager.

NGINX Controller provides a centralized orchestration and analytics platform for managing fleets of NGINX Plus instances. NGINX Plus is an integrated load balancer, server, and content cache. In previous releases of Controller, management of the underlying fleet of NGINX Plus instances was done in an infrastructure-centric way. This required configuring, monitoring, and operating each instance independently of its purpose.

With this release, the focus has shifted to allow for managing and operating the components of the application as a unit. This improvement is based on work already started at F5 prior to the merger with NGINX. As Gus Robertson, SVP and GM of NGINX at F5 Networks, notes:

It may seem I'm downplaying previous Controller releases, but the reality is that an infrastructure‑centric approach is common to all solutions in the industry. Most app services are rooted in hardware and software platforms that are designed to be "bumps on the wire" sitting in front of your apps.

Roberston continues by stating that current application design involves more distributed architectures that include a variety of technology solutions. In addition, multiple teams are required to manage and operate applications. Controller aims to reduce handoffs and challenges in supporting applications across multiple teams.

NGINX Controller 3.0 integrating with common workflows

NGINX Controller 3.0 integrating with common workflows (credit: NGINX)


Controller is a cloud-agnostic solution and integrates with a number of tools to streamline deployments. These include integrations with Ansible and Datadog. Through the CI/CD tooling integrations, Controller supports common deployment patterns such as canary releases and blue/green deploys. A built-in certificate manager aims to provide a single point for managing the necessary security certificates.

With the application user interface, it is possible to configure the various integrations and components that make up the application. This interface also provides a single pane of glass to monitor the health of the application, troubleshoot issues, and create new policies for management. The interface is configurable by role-based access control allowing for configurable workflows by team.

NGINX Controller app-centric user interface

NGINX Controller app-centric user interface (credit: NGINX)


NGINX Controller has an API Management Module available. APIs can be configured via the included interface that allows for defining routes and publishing to one or more environments, such as production or staging. It is possible to configure rate limiting by specifying the maximum request rate by client, consumer, or resource. Real-time monitoring and alerting is provided for via included dashboards and integrations with third-party monitoring tools via an included REST API.

NGINX Controller is available as a managed free trial for qualified customers. More details on the changes made within each release can be found in the Controller documentation.

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