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Netflix, Big Movies, and Big Data

Ken Kajikawa
May 13, 2013

Every night, Netflix accounts for about one-third of the downstream Internet traffic in North America, dwarfing all of its major rivals combined. That’s more than YouTube, Hulu, HBO Go,, iTunes, and BitTorrent combined.

Netflix has more than 36 million subscribers. They watch about 4 billion hours of programs every quarter on more than 1,000 different devices. To meet this demand, the company uses specialized video servers scattered around the world. When a subscriber clicks on a movie to stream, Netflix determines within a split second which server containing that movie is closest to the user, then picks from dozens of versions of the video file, depending on the device the viewer is using.

As Netflix's "watch now" streaming service has grown, the company has had to rethink its data and storage strategies to cope with ballooning workloads managed in the cloud. In 2007, Netflix launched its streaming service, using the Oracle database as the back end. In 2010, Netflix began moving its data to Amazon Web Services. In 2012, the next step was to replace its Oracle database with Apache Cassandra, an open source NoSQL database known for its scalability and enterprise-grade reliability.

Netflix now operates more than 50 Cassandra clusters with over 750 nodes. At peak they process more than 50,000 reads per second and 100,000 writes per second across all their clusters. On average they process more than 2.1 billion reads in one day and more than 4.3 billion writes in one day. That’s a lot of big data!

To hear more about Netflix's "watch now" streaming service, attend Telx Marketplace Live on Thursday, June 6th, at The Times Center, New York, NY.

Article originally published on 05/02/2013 at InfoWorld, article originally published on 05/09/2013 at Bloomberg Businessweek. See the full artilce here:,0

If you have questions or comments, email me.

Ken Kajikawa
General Manager - Digital Media | Telx | Twitter: @kenkajikawa

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