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Netflix has grown at a very fast pace and has changed from using monolith to microservices architecture. This was due to the enormous traffic and the team also wanted to speed up organizational development.
It is a fact that Netflix implemented the microservices architecture well before the term ‘microservices' was even launched. Netflix today has over 180 million subscribers spread across 200+ countries.
In monolith architecture, all the elements are stacked into a tight container and their services are dependent upon each other. Failure of one service caused an impact on the other service. For example, when a website has incurred a problem in its customer service module, then the team had to fix issues not only for this one but tackle other modules as well.
There was a huge wastage of time and the failure of the web service to fix issues also resulted in the loss of money. The architecture was also not language neutral. Monolithic architecture cannot handle large traffic conditions and it is difficult to maintain complex websites. To update a single service, the whole application has to be updated and deployed.
Back in August 2008 when the Netflix system was based on monolithic architecture, it had a database failure. Their database was corrupted, and it took them about four days to sort this as their services were dependent upon one another.
Even though Netflix had only database failure they had to fix all other services too. This was when they decided to switch to microservices from monolithic architecture. They started to shift to AWS cloud-based microservices architecture in 2009. It took them a couple of years to completely migrate to the cloud. Netflix now has over 1000 microservices with each service managing a separate part of the business.
In addition to perfecting the use of microservices, Netflix also open-sourced several tools that they used to build the microservices. The Netflix Open Source Software Center (OSS), is now used by other companies to create their microservices systems.
Microservice architecture is a self-contained process in which all the components and their associated components are put into different containers. These containers communicate with each other through interface APIs.
The services are small, independent, and loosely coupled. Microservices are independent of each other so that the failure and upgradation of one service will not cause an impact on the other. So the code was simpler.
The Netflix team established several best practices that would help in designing and implementing microservices architecture. Here are some points that you can keep in mind while designing a microservices architecture, as suggested by expert cloud architects at Netflix.
Choosing the same database for microservices leads to them being dependent on each other and they will function very much like that of a monolith architecture. For example, when one team tries to update one service, the other service also has to be changed because they have the same database.
By choosing different database structures you can avoid unintentional coupling between services and also use the right data store for specific requirements of the different services.
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By keeping the code simpler and at a similar level, it would be easier for a team to rewrite or change the code of service which can be updated without rebuilding or deploying the entire application.
For example, one team can add a new microservice with updated code and can deploy and test it while its pre-existing microservice is working well on the other side. When the team feels that there is no issue with the upgraded service and it is efficient, they can then merge this one with pre-existing one, or else they can the pre-existing one with the new microservice.
Microservice is language-neutral so each microservice doesn’t need to understand the implementation of other microservices.
You can avoid unintentional coupling between services and also use the right data store for specific requirements by choosing a separate build. Having a separate build enables automation and also does not allow microservices to draw a similar set of files.
Containers and microservices are like two faces of a coin. Microservices are easy to deploy when are containerized and can be managed independently without affecting other services. The containers also offer interoperability between the services.
If a server is stateless then it means that it doesn’t care about who and why the clients are accessing them. It doesn't keep a track of clients accessing them. This increases the reliability of the server.
With the server being stateless, Netflix was able to work in a very large-scale network with a huge number of clients. Dependencies on the clients may cause failures that would lead to unsteadiness in the server.
Content delivery executives at Netflix said that they chose NGINX because of its scalability and performance. Netflix incorporated with NGNIX Open source in 2011 to provide a better viewing experience to clients, reduce operation cost, and also get optimized streaming service.
Netflix architecture included complex optimization tasks design, tuning, and implementation of the NGINX web server.NGINX also provides technical support to Netflix.
Netflix uses Open Connect as its content delivery network, which is built with the help of NGINX. Also, NGINX works with some of the busiest websites on the internet; not only with Netflix but also websites like Pinterest, Cloudflare, WordPress, etc. NGNIX can serve thousands of requests at a time which makes it more popular.
Even though transitioning from monolith architecture to microservices architecture at Netflix was complicated, it was much easier to handle and manage the services independently after the transition. Microservices architecture is best when it comes to handling a busy website with a huge number of clients such as Netflix. Independency and interoperability of microservices architecture make them more advantageous.
Netflix is an organization that pioneered migration into microservices and became a market leader through innovation. Switching to a microservices architecture can likewise create exciting opportunities for other large corporations and more control and speed for developers and system architects.
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