How does Netflix operate on AWS?
Netflix has been on AWS since a devastating fire destroyed their own datacenter in 2010. By 2015, their Cloud migration was complete and, thanks to AWS, the scale they have achieved has been outstanding.
Josh Evans – Director of Operations Engineering at Netflix described the Netflix’s microservices architecture as a living organism, with critical components, internal flows, and failures. The infrastructure is composed of hundreds of completely decoupled and independent microservices involving thousands of daily production changes to many thousands of AWS instances.
Josh identifies two main challenges to achieving operational excellence:
In order to offer the best user experience – and therefore win their customers’ “moments of truth” (i.e., get them to watch more video content) – Netflix has to move and change fast.
Their innovation strategy involves the massive use of A/B tests on every facet of the product. During the last year, they ran more than 1,400 experiments (meaning at least 25 experiments running in parallel every day). Of course, the goal is to increase user engagement, and this explains why each user’s Netflix experience is sort of unique, both because of the customized recommendations they’re shown, and the unique combination of experiments.
Scale and complexity
Netflix currently handles hundreds of thousands of requests per second from about 60 countries. Their infrastructure runs multi-zone and multi-region, serving users from three different AWS regions. The only component running outside of AWS is their Netflix CDN, which currently covers about 37% of US Internet traffic.
Achieving operational excellence also involves a tough tradeoff between availability and rate of change (i.e. quality versus speed). Netflix is keen on trading some of their availability to enable fast change, and they approach the problem by means of continuous improvement of management, design, and function of operational environments. This kind of approach leads to greater quality, velocity, and competitive advantage.
The culture behind this choice can be summarized as “You build it, you run it”. It means 100% ownership, starting from designing, coding, building, testing and deploying…all the way to operating, configuring, monitoring, and responding (while doing it all globally!). They built their own software tools to enable this approach, like Spinnaker, Eureka, Hystrix, Atlas, and Vector (available on Github).
These tools are based on software engineering standards and advanced technologies:
- Anomaly detection: to identify anomalous patterns on short windows of time series events.
- Outlier detection and remediation: via unsupervised machine learning and clustering techniques.
- Canary release process: new versions of the software are available to a small percentage of the traffic, with automatic canary analysis.
- Unsupervised monitoring and decision making: take humans out of the equation and provide automatic alerts.
Another important component of Netflix’s approach is chaos engineering. Being aware that components are going to fail, they work hard on building confidence in the system’s capability to withstand turbulent conditions (directly in production). You can find their SimianArmy on Github. By using FIT (Fault-injection Testing) they can simulate service failures, both on an instance- and region-level.
Director of Engineering at Netflix, Peter Bakas – after proudly taking a picture of the crowd – explained how Netflix handles data streams of up to 8 million events per second.
Keystone handles about 550 billion events every day (more than 8 million events per second) and manipulates more than one petabyte of data, composed of hundreds of event types. Their data pipeline solution is based on open source projects, such as Apache Kafka, Apache Chukwa, and Apache Samza, besides Docker and MySQL.
Netflix Core Team
Dave Hahn talked about how it feels and how it is possible for a few DevOps engineers to handle more than 37% of the US Internet. His team – the CORE team (Cloud Operations Reliability Engineering) – is responsible for crisis management, availability reporting, reliability best practices, AWS relationship, and operations education. It is mainly composed of crisis leaders and its goals are the following:
- Protect customer experience. This is crucial at Netflix and is the key point of each operation.
- Make failures unique. This means making errors happen only once, by identifying the real root of each problem and fixing it.
- Achieve constant improvement. This takes a lot of individual effort and can be helped along by incident reviews and by encouraging honest and open feedback.
Dave described the DevOps culture they have built based on the 100% ownership concept and made easier by the many tools developed for software engineers to enable easy ownership, including service discovery, solid communication, automated recovery, continuous deployment, and data persistence.
Insights are a key factor as well: Netflix records about 2.5 billion metrics every day and needed in-house tools to help them visualize and analyze relevant patterns, via prediction and automation.
New Content: Alibaba, Azure AZ-303 and AZ-304, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Foundation, Python 3 Programming, 16 Hands-on Labs, and Much More
This month our Content Team did an amazing job at publishing and updating a ton of new content. Not only did our experts release the brand new AZ-303 and AZ-304 Certification Learning Paths, but they also created 16 new hands-on labs — and so much more! New content on Cloud Academy At...
Blog Digest: Which Certifications Should I Get?, The 12 Microsoft Azure Certifications, 6 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach, and More
This month, we were excited to announce that Cloud Academy was recognized in the G2 Summer 2020 reports! These reports highlight the top-rated solutions in the industry, as chosen by the source that matters most: customers. We're grateful to have been nominated as a High Performer in se...
Which Certifications Should I Get?
The old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and companies. With all that in mind, the s...
New Content: AWS, Azure, Typescript, Java, Docker, 13 New Labs, and Much More
This month, our Content Team released a whopping 13 new labs in real cloud environments! If you haven't tried out our labs, you might not understand why we think that number is so impressive. Our labs are not “simulated” experiences — they are real cloud environments using accounts on A...
Kickstart Your Tech Training With a Free Week on Cloud Academy
Are you looking to make a jump in your technical career? Want to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Kubernetes, Python, or another in-demand skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendar. Starting Monday, June 22 at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), ...
New Content: AZ-500 and AZ-400 Updates, 3 Google Professional Exam Preps, Practical ML Learning Path, C# Programming, and More
This month, our Content Team released tons of new content and labs in real cloud environments. Not only that, but we introduced our very first highly interactive "Office Hours" webinar. This webinar, Acing the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification, started with a quick overvie...
Azure vs. AWS: Which Certification Provides the Brighter Future?
More and more companies are using cloud services, prompting more and more people to switch their current IT position to something cloud-related. The problem is most people only have that much time after work to learn new technologies, and there are plenty of cloud services that you can ...
Blog Digest: 5 Reasons to Get AWS Certified, OWASP Top 10, Getting Started with VPCs, Top 10 Soft Skills, and More
Thank you for being a valued member of our community! We recently sent out a short survey to understand what type of content you would like us to add to Cloud Academy, and we want to thank everyone who gave us their input. If you would like to complete the survey, it's not too late. It ...
New Content: Alibaba, Azure Cert Prep: AI-100, AZ-104, AZ-204 & AZ-400, Amazon Athena Playground, Google Cloud Developer Challenge, and much more
This month, our Content Team released 8 new learning paths, 4 courses, 7 labs in real cloud environments, and 4 new knowledge check assessments. Not only that, but we introduced our very first course on Alibaba Cloud, and our expert instructors are working 'round the clock to create 6 n...
Top 5 Reasons to Get AWS Certified Right Now
Cloud computing trends are on the rise and have been for some time already. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start learning cloud computing. Skills like AWS and others associated with cloud computing are in high demand because cloud technologies have become crucial for many businesse...
Introducing Our Newest Lab Environments: Lab Playgrounds
Want to train in a real cloud environment, but feel slowed down by spinning up your own deployments? When you consider security or pricing costs, it can be costly and challenging to get up to speed quickly for self-training. To solve this problem, Cloud Academy created a new suite of la...
Blog Digest: AWS Breaking News, Azure DevOps, AWS Study Guide, 8 Ways to Prevent a Ransomware Attack, and More
New articles by topic AWS Azure Data Science Google Cloud Cloud Adoption Platform Updates & New Content Security Women in Tech AWS Breaking News: All AWS Certification Exams Now Available Online As an Advanced AWS Technology Partner, C...