Case Study: Netflix

With its streaming service rapidly gaining popularity with its members, Netflix’s choice of Cassandra is helping the company meet heavy demand for highly available data.

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“With Cassandra, we get better business agility, and we don’t have to plan capacity in advance, we don’t need to ask permission of other people to build things for us, and we don’t worry about running out of space or power.” -Adrian Cockcroft, Netflix

Company: Netflix

Overview: Netflix, the world’s leading subscription service for movies and TV, launched in 1997 as a provider of DVDs by mail. However, since it launched its “Watch Instantly” streaming delivery service in 2007, the Los Gatos, Calif., company has steadily shifted resources toward the streaming model, since it offers benefits to both the business and to customers (no postage costs or delivery wait times).

At the same time, the company considered the data and storage demands that streaming media would require. (DVDs require warehouse storage – streaming movies require storage of information.)

“We had a single data center, which meant we had a single point of failure,” explains Adrian Cockcroft, cloud architect at Netflix. “We were approaching limits on traffic and capacity. Now that people can watch Netflix streaming programming from their phones, from Wii devices, Roku boxes and many others, the demand for availability increases all the time. We have more customers every quarter, more customers are using streaming, and they’re using streaming at a greater rate.”

Data Size: 50 clusters with over 750 nodes as of March 2013.

Challenge: To maintain high availability of member information and quality of streaming video data for a rapidly growing company, while creating flexibility and agility for Netflix’s technology teams

Solution: The open source and scalable Apache Cassandra™ data platform, which lets Netflix quickly create and manage data clusters and minimize the chance of failures and outages