Netflix completes transition to cloud

by - 28 April 2016
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Netflix recently opened up about their journey to cloud on their company’s blog. Yury Izrailevsky, vice president, cloud and platform engineering, described how the decision was made after a major business interruption for the video-on-demand portal. ”Our journey to the cloud at Netflix began in August of 2008, when we experienced a major database corruption and for three days could not ship DVDs to our members,” he wrote.

Seven Years of Hard Work Paid Off

That was when Netflix realized that they had to move away from vertically scaled single points of failure, like relational databases in the datacentres, towards highly reliable, horizontally scalable, distributed systems in the cloud.

The majority of Netflix’s systems, including all customer-facing services, had been migrated to the cloud prior to 2015.

“Since then, we’ve been taking the time necessary to figure out a secure and durable cloud path for our billing infrastructure as well as all aspects of our customer and employee data management,” Izrailevsky said.

The migration to cloud was completed in early 2016, after seven years of work. According to Izrailevsky Netflix shut down the last remaining data centre bits used by their streaming service in January.

Elasticity of the Cloud Allowed Major Expansion

The vice president went on explaining the benefits that Netflix experienced after the migration and particularly after growing its customer base eightfold since 2008 and expanding its service to over 130 new countries. “Supporting such rapid growth would have been extremely difficult out of our own data centres; we simply could not have racked the servers fast enough,” Izrailevsky wrote. “Elasticity of the cloud allows us to add thousands of virtual servers and petabytes of storage within minutes, making such an expansion possible.”

Today Netflix uses cloud for all of its scalable computing and storage needs, its business logic and distributed databases as well as big data processing/analytics, recommendations and transcoding. “The cloud also allowed us to significantly increase our service availability,” he said. “There were a number of outages in our data centres, and while we have hit some inevitable rough patches in the cloud, especially in the earlier days of cloud migration, we saw a steady increase in our overall availability, nearing our desired goal of four nines of service uptime.”

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