Netflix Plans Streaming Traffic Across Amazon Cloud Regions

To avoid possible outages, Netflix is now running its streaming-video service across two regions of the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud platform, balancing its traffic between the two. The major service disruption that occurred Christmas Eve of last year took down the site’s streaming, forcing Netflix to scramble. Now, the company will run its streaming service across AWS’ East and West regions, allowing for rerouting of traffic if necessary.

In the past, “AWS has rolled out numerous features and architectural strategies (such as regions and availability zones) to mitigate the effects of outages by letting users send their workloads to other virtual servers,” reports GigaOM. “But its efforts aren’t foolproof.”

The Christmas Eve outage that brought down many other applications and sites besides Netflix proved that. The video streaming service tried solving the outage by “designing its streaming service to failover from one AWS region to another if something went wrong,” GigaOM explains.

“Regularly, traffic is routed to the region that’s geographically closer to the user (a roughly 50-50 split),” the post notes. “But if a whole region goes down as happened on Christmas Eve, Netflix can route all traffic to the healthy region.” Meaning the company can avoid major outages.

Even more impressive, GigaOM says, is Netflix’s “architecting” of the cloud resources. The site sees a “big opportunity” for cloud providers to “automate this type of capability for their users in an effort to push cloud computing closer to that dream of geographically-aware and resilient applications.”

Google and AWS are working on it, “but they appear to be a way off from where Netflix is at this point.”