Netflix has been working on moving huge portions of its streaming operations to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for years now, and it informed people on Thursday that it has finally ended the humongous task of shifting to the cloud. Initially, the streaming firm planned to complete the shift by the end of last summer.
Netflix took seven years to transition
In a blog post, the streaming firm said, “We are happy to report that in early January of 2016, after seven years of diligent effort, we have finally completed our cloud migration and shut down the last remaining data center bits used by our streaming service.”
In an interview with Ars Technica, VP of Cloud and Platform Engineering Yury Izrailevsky said the streaming firm operates “many tens of thousands” of servers and has many tens of petabytes of storage in the Amazon cloud. He said the last remaining piece was billing and payments, and the company wanted to make sure that it did the transition right as there are a lot of privacy concerns around customer data. Previously, Netflix rented a cage at a co-location facility where it saved applications and data related to billing and payments.
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Not all operations shifted to AWS
Now with the last piece finished, Netflix has no data center space of its own, although everything is not on Amazon. Netflix has a content delivery network (CDN) of its own called Open Connect. It manages Open Connect from Amazon, but storage boxes which hold videos that stream to viewers’ houses or mobile devices are located within Internet service providers’ networks or Internet exchange points.
At these exchanges, the streaming firm distributes traffic directly to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other big network operators. Whenever a customer hits the “play” button, one of those sites delivers the video. However, before the customer clicks “play,” a lot of activities take place, such as the customer signing up for the service or searching videos. The applications and data needed to manage these run in the Amazon cloud.
“All the search, personalization, all the business logic, all the data processing that enables the streaming experience, the 100 different applications and services that make up the streaming application, they live in AWS,” the executive said.
Also the technology used to manage the employees is also with Amazon, but the streaming firm does uses software-as-a-service applications like Workday.