Netflix’s functioning: its migration on the cloud and its content delivery network
Last Friday, we briefly talked about the complex relationship between Netflix and Amazon. Indeed, Netflix is running on Amazon’s public cloud (AWS) but Amazon is also a direct competitor of Netflix, since it also launched its own streaming video service. This consideration triggered my interest in Netflix’s functioning, including its migration on the cloud and its content delivery network.
Since January 2016, many articles praise this successful migration on the cloud. However, a closer look at Netflix’s structure unveils that it is using the cloud only for computing and storage needs.  It includes keeping track of all the users, their preferences, the organization of the company’s content, etc. Of course, this migration has brought many advantages to Netflix: it enabled the company to support an incredibly fast and global growth. It is also important to notice that this migration began in 2008. Why did it take so long? This is due to the challenges of cloud implementation, since such a migration does imply a lot of work. In this case, Netflix operated a complete rebuild of its structure.
We talked about Netflix using the cloud for its computing and storage needs, but what about its core business, video streaming? In fact, Netflix does still use data centers for its content delivery network: Open Connect.  Open Connect can be described as a network of data centers around the world: its purpose is to bring Netflix content closer to its customer. Thus, there are thousands of Open Connect Appliances (OCAs) around the world and they distribute 100% of the video traffic. In Brief, everything happening on Netflix before hitting play is running on AWS cloud, then the OCAs take over. 
A crucial aspect of Open Connect is the establishment of partnerships with the Internet Service Providers (ISPs): the OCAs are interconnected with the ISPs.  Indeed, Open Connect was established in 2011 for two reasons. First it became almost inevitable to work with ISPs because Netflix accounted for a growing proportion of their activities. Then it was also a way to support the growing activity of the company. It is quite easy for ISPs to engage in a partnership, since Netflix does provide many explanations and a guideline to show how to deploy OCAs. It also lists the different options, the engagement process and the requirements. 
Let us now come back to the question raised at the beginning, related to the complex relationship between Amazon and Netflix. Will Amazon reconsider its relation to Netflix, which is one of AWS biggest customer? Indeed, Amazon streaming video service is a direct competitor to Netflix, since it has not only quite the same functioning and subscription fee, but also similar strategic ambitions overseas with the willingness to operate in as many countries as possible. 
The thing is, if Amazon becomes a threat, Netflix would obviously go for another cloud provider (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, etc.) and it would be damaging for AWS, which is one of Amazon’s most important business. Thus, I think that Amazon should avoid becoming too aggressive toward Netflix.
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