How Cloud Computing Helped Netflix Emerge as a Streaming Media Powerhouse

How Cloud Computing Helped Netflix Emerge as a Streaming Media Powerhouse

Netflix may be getting a lot of bad press in recent times due to its management’s ill-advised decision to raise subscription rates by almost 50% resulting in widespread customer dissatisfaction and a groveling apology by CEO Reed Hastings, but it was not long ago that it was considered the epitome of home entertainment.Netflix is another new-age company that owes its success to cloud computing, the same way that Zynga, the creators of Facebook game sensation Farmville, does (See: Zynga, the Latest Cloud Computing Success). And not surprisingly, for both of them, the cloud provider of choice is Amazon, perhaps the earliest player in the game.

Although Netflix began life as a DVD-by-mail service in 1997, it was with the introduction of the on-demand streaming service that it saw a huge expansion of its customer base. In fact, when it crossed 10 million subscribers in 2009, it “attributed the recent surge in subscribers to growing consumer recognition of the value and convenience offered by Netflix and increasingly more ways to instantly watch a growing library of movies and TV episodes from Netflix on PCs, Intel-based Macs and TVs.”

Not surprisingly, this model was soon adopted by many other providers like Fox’s Hulu, Amazon and even Google, who created a paid version of YouTube content. Now, running such a service required a level of flexibility, resource optimization and redundancy that traditional data centers were ill-equipped to provide (See: Virtualization: The Virtual Way to Real-World Benefits). That is why Netflix today relies almost exclusively on cloud services for its infrastructure.

This point was reiterated by Netflix Cloud Security Architect Jason Chan in his presentation “Practical Cloud Security” at the United Security Summit in San Francisco. During his presentation, Chan articulated the advantages that being on the cloud provided Netflix, advantages that were not possible with traditional IT infrastructure.

Chen explained that in a traditional data center, applications are long-lived, code is pushed to running systems, and it can be difficult to enforce deployment patterns such as patches. However, on the cloud, new versions are written which replace the old ones entirely with new instances, eliminating the need for patches. Also, while earlier repeatable tasks such as adding a user account, changing firewall configurations or forensic analysis required multiple steps and interfacing with multiple systems, “these tasks are a simple API call with cloud.” Moreover, with systems being added to groups that control the connectivity, “there’s no one chokepoint” like the traditional firewall.

The key lesson we learned is you have to leave the old ways behind,” Chan said. However, he agreed that moving to the cloud did introduce some specific security concerns that had to be addressed. With Amazon having launched a similar service in direct competition with its own customer Netflix (See: Is Amazon’s Cloud Player a Game Changer in the Music Industry? ), this space should see some interesting developments in the near future.

By Sourya Biswas

sourya

Sourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being a freelance journalist with several articles published online. After 6 years of work, he has decided to pursue further studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he has completed his MBA. He holds a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Information Technology. He is also a member of high-IQ organizations Mensa and Triple Nine Society and has been a prolific writer to CloudTweaks over the years... http://www.cloudtweaks.com/author/sourya/

3 Responses to How Cloud Computing Helped Netflix Emerge as a Streaming Media Powerhouse

  1. [...] How Cloud Computing Helped Netflix Emerge as a Streaming Media Powerhouse And not surprisingly, for both of them, the cloud provider of choice is Amazon, perhaps the earliest player in the game. Although Netflix began life as a DVD-by-mail service in 1997, it was with the introduction of the on-demand streaming service that … Read more on CloudTweaks News [...]

Popular Articles

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data Big Data is BIG business and will continue to be one of the more predominant areas of focus in the coming years from small startups to large scale corporations. We’ve already covered on CloudTweaks how Big Data can be utilized in a number of interesting ways from preventing world hunger to

BYOD Will Continue To Define Workplaces In 2014

BYOD Will Continue To Define Workplaces In 2014

BYOD Will Continue To Define Workplaces In 2014 The bring-your-own-device trend has been the subject of scrutiny ever since its initial formation. Given how quickly personal smartphones and tablets became a fixture in everyday life, it makes perfect sense that these mobile machines would slip into workplaces. While BYOD has caused headaches for many businesses,

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Computing Growth

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Computing Growth

An excellent infographic provided by AwesomeCloud which predicts a continued high level of growth in the cloud computing industry. Potentially staggering numbers for Public Cloud IT Services of $100 Billion by 2016. Infographic Source: AwesomeCloud About Latest Posts souryaSourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being a

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Cloud servers offer power, flexibility, reliability, and client friendly hosting for small and medium businesses that have outgrown shared hosting. New business hosting clients are bombarded with an incredible diversity of different choices for their site’s hosting. It can be a challenge to negotiate the range of platforms and the marketing hype that many hosting

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery  Business downtime can be detrimental without a proper disaster recovery plan in place. Only 6% of businesses that experience downtime without a plan will survive long term. Less than half of all businesses that experience a disaster are likely to reopen their doors. There are many causes of data loss and

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery Preventing a Cloud Disaster is one thing. Recovering from a disaster is a whole other area of concern. Today’s infographic provided by CloudVelox outlines some best practices and safeguards in order to help your business make more informed decisions. About Latest Posts souryaSourya Biswas is a