Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Vaibhaw Pandey, Stackify Blog, Pat Romanski, Wesley Coelho

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Why You Can’t Talk About Microservices Without Mentioning Netflix | @CloudExpo #API #Microservices

Netflix is one of the earliest adopters of microservices

Why You Can't Talk About Microservices Without Mentioning Netflix
by Daniel Giordano

About six years ago, Netflix began the move from a monolithic to cloud-based microservices architecture, openly documenting the journey along the way. Netflix is one of the earliest adopters of microservices, a term that didn't even exist when Netflix began moving away from its monolith. Today, the Netflix application is powered by an architecture featuring an API Gateway that handles about two billion API edge requests every day which are handled by approximately 500+ microservices. Netflix has been so successful with its architecture, that the company has open sourced a great deal of its platform including the technologies powering its microservices. Netflix has become one of the most well-known examples of a modern microservices architecture; if an article mentions microservices, odds are, it also mentions Netflix.

Caption: Netflix needed to move to an architecture that could handle the growing number of users and devices connecting to its platform. - Image Credit: Netflix.

Netflix needed to move to an architecture that could handle the growing number of users and devices connecting to its platform. - Image Credit: Netflix.

Netflix Moves to the Cloud
Netflix began moving from a monolithic to AWS cloud-based microservices architecture in 2009, long before the term microservices even existed. Netflix first began with moving movie encoding, a non-customer facing application. In 2010, Netflix began moving customer facing pieces of the website to AWS including account sign up, movie selections, TV selections, metadata, and device configuration. By the end of 2010, the entire customer facing website had been moved to AWS. By December 2011, Netflix had successfully moved to the cloud, breaking up their monolith into hundreds of fine-grained microservices.

About Microservices
The term microservices was coined by a group of software architects in 2012 but didn't start gaining in popularity until 2014, when software developer and author Martin Fowler began using the term in some of his publications.

Netflix trends

Microservices - Google Search Interest Over Time - Data Source: Google Trends

Adrian Cockcroft, a technology fellow at Battery Ventures, is well known for his role as cloud architect at Netflix where he often gave presentations about Netflix's move to the cloud and microservices. Cockcroft has developed his own definition for microservices:  "Loosely coupled service oriented architecture with bounded contexts."

Reasons for the Move
There were a number of reasons Netflix made the decision to move from a monolithic datacenter to a cloud-based microservices architecture. The primary reasons for the move, however, had to do with availability, scale, and speed. The company needed an architecture that allowed Netflix to be up and running 24/7, scale to the next order of magnitude, and be optimized for speed.

Back in 2008, when Netflix was still operating as a monolith, a single missing semicolon brought down the entire Netflix website for several hours. Monoliths tend to become spaghetti code with various components linked together and tightly coupled together. As a monolith, when something was broken in the code, all Netflix engineers had to be alerted to check and see if it was their code that had caused the problem. While it is still possible to have outages with a microservices architecture due to code errors and other issues, outages can be minimized since the platform is divided into separate services that are loosely coupled. A well-designed microservices architecture allows for better availability.

Another reason for the move to a cloud-based microservices architecture had to do with scale. Netflix was unable to build data centers fast enough to keep up with its growth rate. Not only was the number of Netflix users growing very rapidly, Netflix was also branching out to platforms like Xbox, Wii, mobile, and was expanding globally. Thousands of server instances can be commissioned simultaneously if needed to meet increased demand for services. Netflix is able to increase or decrease its capacity in minutes with AWS cloud. In the past, increasing capacity of the datacenter could take hours or days.  Scale is also undifferentiated for a monolithic application; it doesn't allow for different components to scale at different rates. For example, a customer service application could not be scaled at a different rate than a product catalog. However, this is possible with a cloud-based microservices architecture.

The microservices architecture allowed Netflix to greatly speed up development and deployment of its platform and services. The company was able to build and test global services on a large scale without impacting the current system and they could quickly roll back if there were problems. The microservices architecture also allowed Netflix to create about 30+ independent engineering teams that could work on different release schedules, which helped increase the agility and productivity of the development process.

There Were a Few Problems
While the Netflix platform is one of the best examples of a modern cloud-based microservices architecture, the move from monolith to microservices was not without some problems. When Netflix first moved the customer-facing website to the cloud, there were a lot of latency issues with the web pages. One of the ways Netflix dealt with this issue was by managing resources within AWS to avoid co-tenancy and adjust to AWS networking, which has more variable latency than the Netflix datacenters.

In April 2011, there was an outage in AWS US-East that brought down several popular websites hosted on AWS. While Netflix did not experience any large external outages because of the AWS issue, the company did have to make manual changes to its AWS configuration, moving sets of services out of Amazon's Availability Zone (AZ). The company has since automated much of the process, so that failures of this nature are handled without requiring a lot of manual intervention by Netflix engineers.

Netflix faced a number of issues as it steadily moved to a cloud-based architecture such as load increases, instance failures, zone/region failures, and performance problems. Netflix has built many technologies and tools to help address and solve these issues.

Netflix Provides Open Source Software
Netflix has been so successful moving to a cloud-based microservices architecture that the company has open sourced many of the tools and components used to build it. In a recent GOTO Conference presentation, Cockcroft explained what led up to Netflix open sourcing much of its code:

"During 2011, there were a bunch of outages where Amazon went down, and Netflix didn't; everyone else went down, Netflix didn't. So why was that? Well it's because we actually architected to be highly available and people said okay well we like that. So in 2012, we [people] said okay we do like these features; it's scalable, it's highly available, we've got a very fast development pipeline, and you stay up when Amazon goes down, and it's low cost, and you keep going up at conferences and battling people, so that looks good. But they couldn't figure out how to do it themselves because the gap from what Netflix was talking about to what everyone else was doing was just too big. So in 2012, we started seriously open sourcing a lot of code."

The Netflix Open Source Software Center (Netflix OSS) provides tools and technologies that companies can use for building a microservices architecture that runs on AWS.

Conclusion
"When we said we were going to move all of Netflix to cloud everyone said we were completely crazy," explained Cockcroft at a recent GOTO conference. "They didn't believe we were actually doing that, they thought we were just making stuff up."

Today, there are many companies that have moved to the cloud adopting a modern microservices architecture including Amazon, Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Nike, Nordstrom, Orbitz, PayPal, Spotify, Target, Twitter, and the list goes on and on.

Netflix was one of the first companies to move to the cloud and implement microservices, helping to pave the way for other companies to do the same. Netflix has become a technology leader, especially when it comes to cloud computing and microservices. This is why just about every article these days that mentions microservices, also mentions Netflix.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By SmartBear Blog

As the leader in software quality tools for the connected world, SmartBear supports more than two million software professionals and over 25,000 organizations in 90 countries that use its products to build and deliver the world’s greatest applications. With today’s applications deploying on mobile, Web, desktop, Internet of Things (IoT) or even embedded computing platforms, the connected nature of these applications through public and private APIs presents a unique set of challenges for developers, testers and operations teams. SmartBear's software quality tools assist with code review, functional and load testing, API readiness as well as performance monitoring of these modern applications.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...