Netflix transitions 100% of IT services into the cloud, citing reliability, ability to scale

By the end of the summer, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) will run all of its IT services in the public cloud. The SVOD provider said it is shutting down its last data center soon, the culmination of an initiative that began seven years ago.

The Wall Street Journal said that few big companies operate entirely in the public cloud: Many keep sensitive software in their data centers or in private clouds, putting together hybrid arrangements with third-party cloud providers. That makes Netflix something of an anomaly among large and multinational corporations.

The reason for the transition? A "major hardware failure" in 2008 jump-started the shift, with Netflix gradually migrating its IT infrastructure over to Amazon Web Services (AWS), platform by platform, beginning with its jobs page and eventually its video player, content discovery and search, accounts, billing and data, iPhone technologies and big data platforms. The company dedicated a team of IT personnel to implement the migration.

The move to a public cloud environment enables Netflix to better scale its architecture as needed, the WSJ said, such as adding hardware, storage or network capacity.

Although its IT operations and streaming functions are now all in the cloud, Netflix also utilizes third-party CDNs (content delivery networks) and transport providers like Level 3 Communications and Cogent Communications to ensure high-speed delivery of its video streams to subscribers.

"Netflix is the first but won't be the last to adopt full public-cloud operations. The challenge that all such companies will have is maintaining quality of experience while giving up hands-on control of delivery. The Internet is largely unmanaged and chaotic -- without automation and control, guaranteeing a positive experience for viewers is near impossible," said Keith Zubchecvich, chief strategy officer at Conviva, a company that offers optimization and analytics services to online video providers. "Moving away from owned-and-operated data centers, therefore, must be matched with extensive, defensible and effective experience optimization automation to end well."

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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