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Netflix in the Cloud


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[Full slides now also available at]

Short summary of why Netflix is running on the Amazon cloud, what is running there, what we have learned and where this is taking us.

This is the introduction section to a series of public presentations that will go into much more detail. The Silicon Valley Cloud Computing Meetup was on Oct 14th, QCon San Francisco November 3rd.

Published in: Business, Technology

Netflix in the Cloud

  1. Ne#lix  in  the  Cloud   Oct  7,  2010   Adrian  Cockcro:   @adrianco   h<p://  
  2. With  more  than  15  million  members,  Ne#lix,  Inc.   is  the  world’s  largest  subscripJon  service   streaming  movies  and  TV  episodes  over  the   Internet  and  sending  DVDs  by  mail.  
  3. Why  Use  AWS?   •  Stop  building  our  own  datacenters   –  Capacity  growth  rate  is  acceleraJng,  unpredictable   –  Product  launch  spikes  -­‐  iPhone,  Wii,  PS3,  XBox   –  DC  is  large  inflexible  capital  commitment   •  Leverage  AWS  Scale  –  the  biggest   –  AWS  investment  in  tooling  and  automaJon   –  AWS  zones  for  high  availability,  scalability   –  AWS  skills  are  common  on  resumes…   •  Leverage  AWS  Feature  Set  –  most  advanced   –  EC2,  S3,  SDB,  SQS,  EBS,  EMR,  ELB,  ASG,  RDB..  
  4. Ne#lix  Deployed  on  AWS   •  “batch”  Movie  Encoding  farm  (2009)   –  Thousands  of  EC2  instances,  Petabytes  of  S3   –  Movie  files  staged  out  to  CDNs  for  delivery   •  Hadoop  -­‐  ElasJc  Map-­‐Reduce  (2009)   –  Large  scale  log  processing  and  analyJcs   •  Streaming  Service  Back-­‐end  (early  2010)   –  Highly  available  and  scalable  “play  bu<on”   •  Web  site,  a  page  at  a  Jme  (through  2010)   –  Ramp  from  25%  of  views  to  80%  in  the  coming  weeks   •  API  for  TV  devices  and  iPhone  etc.  (2010)   –  Personalized  movie  choosing  algorithm  back-­‐end  
  5. Learnings…   •  Datacenter  oriented  tools  don’t  work   –  Ephemeral  instances,  high  rate  of  change   •  Cloud  Tools  Don’t  Scale  for  Enterprise   –  Built  our  own  tools,  drove  vendors  hard   •  It’s  faster  in  the  end  to  re-­‐code  than  Jnker   –  “fork-­‐li:ed”  apps  don’t  work  well   –  Re-­‐architected  and  re-­‐wrote  much  of  our  code  base  using   fine  grain  web  services,  leveraging  open  source  in  Java,   highly  instrumented.  “NoSQL”  SimpleDB  backend.   In  the  datacenter,  robust  code  is  best  prac2ce.  In  the   cloud,  it’s  essen2al  
  6. Next  Few  Years…   •  “System  of  Record”  moves  to  Cloud   –  Cut  the  datacenter  to  cloud  replicaJon  link   •  InternaJonal  Expansion  –  Global  Clouds   –  Rapid  deployments  to  new  markets   •  GPU  Clouds  opJmized  for  video  encoding   •  MulJple  Vendor  Deployments   –  Ne#lix  already  uses  several  streaming  CDN  vendors   –  Large  scale  compeJtors  will  offer  AWS  clones   –  Higher  resilience,  higher  scalability   –  CompeJJon  drives  cost  down   We  would  prefer  to  be  an  insignificant  customer  in  a  giant  cloud  
  7. Takeaway   Ne#lix  is  path-­‐finding  the  use  of  public  AWS   cloud  to  replace  in-­‐house  IT  for  non-­‐trivial   applicaJons  with  hundreds  of  developers  and   thousands  of  systems.   h<p://   @adrianco