Our Design Vision for NGINX One: The Ultimate Data Plane SaaS

Eric Braun Miniature
Eric Braun
Published March 13, 2024

A Deeper Dive into F5 NGINX One, and an Invitation to Participate in Early Access

A few weeks ago, we introduced NGINX One to our customers at AppWorld 2024. We also opened NGINX One Early Access, and a waiting list is now building. The solution is also being featured at AppWorld EMEA and AppWorld Asia Pacific. Events throughout both regions will continue through June.

So the timing seems appropriate, in the midst of all this in-person activity, to share a bit more of our thinking and planning for NGINX One with our blog readers and re-extend that early access invitation to our global NGINX community.

Taking NGINX to Greater Heights

At the heart of all NGINX products lies our remarkable data plane. Designed and coded originally by Igor Sysoev, the NGINX data plane has stood the test of time. It is remarkably self-contained and performant. The code base has remained small and compact, with few dependencies and rare security issues. Our challenge was to make the data plane the center of a broader, complete product offering encompassing everything we build — and make that data plane more extensible, accessible, affordable, and manageable.

We also wanted to make NGINX a more accessible option for our large base of F5 customers. These are global teams for enterprise-wide network operations and security, many of which are responsible for NGINX deployments and ensuring that application development and platform ops teams get what they need to build modern applications.

Core Principles: No Silos, Consumption-Based, One Management Plane, Global Presence

With all this in mind, when we started planning NGINX One, we laid out a handful of design conventions that we wanted to follow:

  • Non-opinionated and flexible — NGINX One will be easy to implement across the entire range of NGINX use cases (web server, reverse proxy, application delivery, Kubernetes/microservices, application security, CDN).
  • Simple API interface — NGINX One will be easy to connect to any existing developer toolchain, platform, or system via RESTful APIs.
  • A single management system — NGINX One will provide one console and one management plane to run and configure everything NGINX. The console will be delivered ”as-a-service” with zero installation required and easy extensibility to other systems, such as Prometheus.
  • Consumption-based — With NGINX One, users will pay only for what they consume, substantially reducing barriers to entry and lowering overall cost of ownership.
  • Scales quickly, easily, and affordably in any cloud environment — NGINX One will be cloud and environment agnostic, delivering data plane, app delivery, and security capabilities on any cloud, any PaaS or orchestration engine, and for function-based and serverless environments.
  • Simplified security — NGINX One will make securing your applications in any environment easier to implement and manage, utilizing NGINX App Protect capabilities such as OneWAF and DDoS protection.
  • Intelligence for optimizing configurations — NGINX One will leverage all of NGINX’s global intelligence to offer intelligent suggestions on configuring your data plane, reducing errors, and increasing application performance.
  • Extensibility — NGINX One will be easy to integrate with other platforms for networking, observability and security, and application delivery. NGINX One will simplify integration with F5 Big-IP and other products, making it easier for network operations and security operations teams to secure and manage their technology estate across our product families.

NGINX One Is Designed to Be the Ultimate Data Plane Multi-Tool

We wanted to deliver all this while leveraging our core asset — the NGINX data plane. In fact, foundational to our early thinking on NGINX One was an acknowledgment that we needed to return to our data plane roots and make that the center of our universe.

NGINX One takes the core NGINX data plane software you’re familiar with and enhances it with SaaS-based tools for observability, management, and security. Whether you’re working on small-scale deployments or large, complex systems, NGINX One integrates seamlessly. You can use it as a drop-in replacement for any existing NGINX product.

For those of you navigating hybrid and multicloud environments, NGINX One simplifies the process. Integrating into your existing systems, CI/CD workflows, and cloud services is straightforward. NGINX One can be deployed in minutes and is consumable via API, giving you the flexibility to scale as needed. This service includes all essential NGINX products: NGINX Plus, NGINX Open Source, NGINX Instance Manager, NGINX Ingress Controller, and NGINX Gateway Fabric. NGINX One itself is hosted across multiple clouds for resilience.

In a nutshell, NGINX One can unify all your NGINX products into a single management sphere. Most importantly, with NGINX One you pay only for what you use. There are no annual license charges or per-seat costs. For startups, a generous free tier will allow you to scale and grow without fear of getting whacked with “gotcha” pricing. You can provision precisely what you need when you need it. You can dial it up and down as needed and automate scaling to ensure your apps are always performant.

NGINX One + F5 Big-IP = One Management Plane and Global Presence

To make NGINX easier to manage as part of F5 products, NGINX One better integrates with F5 while leveraging F5’s global infrastructure. To start with, NGINX One will be deployed on the F5 Distributed Cloud, adjoining NGINX One users with many additional capabilities. They can easily network across clouds with our Multicloud Network fabric without enduring complex integrations. They can configure granular security policies for specific teams and applications at the global firewall layer with less toil and fewer tickets. NGINX One users will benefit from our global network of points-of-presence, bringing applications much closer to end-users without having to bring in an additional content delivery network layer.

F5 users can easily leverage NGINX One to discover all instances of NGINX running in their enterprise environments and instrument those instances for better observability. In addition, F5’s security portfolio shares a single WAF engine, commonly referred to as “OneWAF”. This allows organizations to migrate the same policies they use in BIG-IP Advanced WAF to NGINX App Protect and to keep those policies synchronized.

A View into the Future

As we continue to mature NGINX One, we will ensure greater availability and scalability of your applications and infrastructure. We will do this by keeping your apps online with built-in high-availability and granular traffic controls, and by addressing predictable and unpredictable changes through automation and extensibility. And when you discover issues and automatically apply supervised configuration changes to multiple instances simultaneously you dramatically reduce your operational costs.

You will be able to resolve problems before your customers notice any disruptions by leveraging detailed AI-driven insights into the health of your apps, APIs, and infrastructure.
Identifying trends and cycles with historical data will enable you to accurately assess upcoming requirements, make better decisions, and streamline troubleshooting.

You can secure and control your network, applications and APIs while ensuring that your DevOps teams can integrate seamlessly with their CI/CD systems and tooling. Security will be closer to your application code and APIs and will be delivered on the shift-left promise. Organizations implementing zero trust will be able to validate users from edge to cloud without introducing complexity or unnecessary overhead. Moreover, you’ll further enhance your security posture by immediately discovering and quickly mitigating NGINX instances impacted by common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs), ensuring uniform protection across your infrastructure.

NGINX One will also change the way that you consume our product. We are moving to a SaaS-delivered model that allows you to pay for a single product and deliver our services wherever your teams need them –in your datacenter, the public cloud, or F5 Distributed Cloud. In the future more capabilities will come to our data plane, such as Webassembly. We will introduce new use cases like AI gateway. We are making it frictionless and ridiculously easy for you to consume these services with a consumption-based tiered pricing.

There will even be a free tier for a small number of NGINX instances and first-time customers. With consumption pricing you have a risk-free entry with low upfront costs.

It will be easier for procurement teams, because NGINX One will be included in all F5’s buying programs, including our Flexible Consumption Program.

No longer will pricing be a barrier for development teams. With NGINX One they will get all the capabilities and management that they need to secure, deliver, and optimize every App and API everywhere.

When Can I Get NGINX One, and How Can I Prepare?

In light of our recent news, many NGINX customers have asked when they can purchase NGINX One and what can they do now to get ready.

We expect NGINX One to be commercially available later this year. However, as mentioned above, customers can raise their hands now to get early access, try it out, and share their feedback for us to incorporate into our planning. In the meantime, all commercially available NGINX products will be compatible with NGINX One, so there is no need to worry that near-term purchases will soon be obsolete. They won’t.

In preparation to harness all the benefits of NGINX One, customers should ensure they are using the latest releases of their NGINX instances and ensure they are running NGINX Instance Manager as prescribed in their license.

June 2024 Update: Since launch, NGINX One has added many new capabilities, and the delivery of a consumption-based pricing model has been deferred. Read this blog post for all the details on new features and pricing updates.

"This blog post may reference products that are no longer available and/or no longer supported. For the most current information about available F5 NGINX products and solutions, explore our NGINX product family. NGINX is now part of F5. All previous links will redirect to similar NGINX content on"