Netflix rocks–from great entertainment to showcasing how to develop for the Cloud

Netflix Top Selections.

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A partial screenshot of my Netflix Top 10 selections – which of course includes Doctor Who and Stargate Universe.

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As a subscriber, I’m definitely a fan of Netflix.  I’m watching Netflix on my PC, Windows Media Center PC, XBox 360, iPad, iPhone, and Windows Phone 7 – its just awesome that I can pretty much watch whatever I want on any device.  Yet, it isn’t just the ability to watch Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica on demand that impresses me on Netflix – it is that they also showcase how to develop and work in the cloud!

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The 5 Lessons Netflix Learned from Using AWS

I can hardly do the blog post justice so let me start by just linking directly to their post: 5 Lessons We’ve Learned Using AWS.  Some tidbits that I enjoyed are:

If you’re used to designing and deploying applications in your own data centers, you need to be prepared to unlearn a lot of what you know…

When developing for the Cloud, it is important to remember that a lot of the product development and deploying to a data center knowledge that you had in the past may no longer be applicable.  You are designing your system as a service and unlike IT controlled data centers, you have no control over latency (disk, network, etc.).

The best way to avoid failure is to fail constantly

It’s an even better spin on the adage of “Fail Early, Fail often”.  After all, if you’re always expecting failure – that it is your normal mode of operation and that you’ve designed the system as such – then failure is boringly normal.

Digging further into this new thinking, take a read of Jeff Atwood’s blog post Working with Chaos Monkey.  It is also a great read and the key call out is

The Chaos Monkey’s job is to randomly kill instances and services within our architecture. If we aren’t constantly testing our ability to succeed despite failure, then it isn’t likely to work when it matters most – in the event of an unexpected outage.

The ability to embrace failure and make it your operational norm is a great best practice that Netflix has showcased in their transition to the Cloud.

The last call outs from this Netflix blog post are

Learn with real scale…and commit yourself

If you’re going to do something, do it right, and do it all the way!  Very enjoyable read – make a habit to review the Netflix Tech Blog, eh?!
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On a related but different note …

The Chaser

Oh, and on a Netflix related note, if you are into Korean cinema, check out the movie “The Chaser” . It is a gritty movie based on the real life serial killer Young-cheol Yoo (유영철) who was convicted of killing twenty people. Ultimately, it was the pimps for missing prostitutes that linked who was the serial killer. And of course, it is available on-demand on Netflix!  Enjoy!

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