F5 buys NGINX for $670m to give itself a DevOps refresh

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F5 Networks has laid down $670m to hoover up NGINX, the company behind the eponymous open source web server.

Security and app services and delivery vendor F5 said the deal would “bridge NetOps and DevOps”, and “enable multi-cloud application services across all environments, providing the ease-of-use and flexibility developers require while also delivering the scale, security, reliability and enterprise readiness network operations teams demand.”

The original Nginx webserver was released and open sourced by Igor Sysoev back in 2002, whilst the company bearing the same name was formed in July 2011 to offer support services and other products around the server. Sysoev remains CTO of the firm.

NGINX CEO Gus Robertson said in an open letter that “our vision and mission don’t change” with the deal.

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“We’re still helping companies on their journey to microservices. What does change is our trajectory. F5 shares our mission, vision, and values. But they bring to bear a tremendous amount of additional resources and complementary technologies.”

“F5 is committed to keeping the NGINX brand and open source technology alive,” he continued. “Without this commitment, the deal wouldn’t have happened for either side.”

In a canned statement, CEO François Locoh-Donou, said in bringing F5 “together with NGINX’s leading software application delivery and API management solutions, unparalleled credibility and brand recognition in the DevOps community, and massive open source user base, we bridge the divide between NetOps and DevOps with consistent application services across an enterprise’s multi-cloud environment.”

F5 said it would “enhance NGINX’s current offerings with F5 security solutions and will integrate F5 cloud-native innovations with NGINX’s software load balancing technology, accelerating F5’s time to market of application services for modern, containerized applications.”

The “DevOps” space has seen a rash of acquisitions over the last six months, from Red Hat’s still in progress borging by IBM, through Heptio’s acquisition by VMware to Travis CI’s surprise sale to Idera in January.

The latter was seen by some observers as a case of a community focused project running out of options for growth. To date, NGINX has raised around $86m in funding, suggesting the founders should be fairly comfortable – even by Bay Area standards – after the deal. That said, Gus Robertson, along with NGINX founders Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov, are all set to stay with the company once the deal is closed.

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