The purpose of this Lab is to introduce NGINX Instance Manager. NGINX Instance Manager is designed to make NGINX even easier to configure, use and maintain. We designed it from the ground up to be in line with the experience you expect from NGINX (small, lightweight, fast). NGINX Instance Manager is our latest product offerring and the lab is designed to showcase how to get started with it and what it can do.

NGINX Instance Manager is focused on using existing NGINX instances and the concepts in this lab can be applied to production environments.


NGINX and NGINX Plus itself uses a native configuration lanugage (“NCL”) that leverages the linux flat file and directory structure. A main nginx.conf file will have multiple includes that typically will be in directories. This allows shared configurations and isolation for individual instances. NGINX can also be deployed on many different form factors and integrates well into CI/CD pipelines.

NGINX has become a very popular application and is the most used web server on the internet today. NGINX Instance Manager extends the existing functionality of NGINX by adding an API, metrics and Analyzer functionality. It is a native NGINX management solution.

NGINX Controller exists for application-centric deployments and where you may want a full solution that handles the data plane configuration for you. NGINX Instance Manager is NGINX centric and the same skills and terms you use for NGINX are applied to NGINX Instance Manager.


This Lab guide will help you complete the following:

  1. Install, enable and configure NGINX Instance Manager using native linux tools.
  2. Utilize the scanner function in NGINX Instance Manager to discover new instances.
  3. Deploy the nginx-agent to existing NGINX instances.
  4. Manage configurations of NGINX instances and utilize NGINX Analyzer for suggestions.
  5. Use grafana to display the metrics of NGINX instances.
  6. Explore the API of NGINX Instance Manager.

Getting Started

The infrastructure is already setup for you; however, we are going to clear out everything so we can practice the installation steps. To do this, we will utilize ssh to connect to the nginx-manager server and run the script in the home directory of the centos user.

The nginx-manager is the instance that provides the NGINX Instance Manager API, metrics endpoint and user interface to use. It also functions as the reciever for the nginx-agent component on the NGINX instances. Run all lab activities from the nginx-manager unless specified

Lab Topology and Credentials

The NGINX machines are there to provide a cross section of installation options.

NGINX Instances:

OSS-Centos Centos 7 Open Source
OSS-Ubuntu Ubuntu 18.04 Open Source
Plus-Ubuntu Ubuntu 18.04 Plus
Plus-Centos Centos 7 Plus