Do you have a Netflix subscription? Yes. For sure you do. Almost everybody has one. It is available in more than 190 countries! No matter if you live in the USA or in Somalia, you can enjoy high-quality content. But how is this possible?
Netflix has a CDN – content delivery network called Netflix Open Connect. The goal of this network is to have the content – movies, TV series, etc. closer to the consumer.
The project started in 2011, because of the increased traffic. Netflix works directly with Internet providers (ISPs) so that its services can be as close as possible to the viewers. The project is mutually beneficial, both Netflix and ISPs want to provide better service.
Open Connect Appliances
The blocks of this CDN are called Open Connect Appliances (OCA) – servers that store encoded video and images and serve them to the clients (mobiles, TVs, computers, etc.).
These OCAs are deployed in two ways:
- They can be inside the internet exchange points (IXPs) in the important for Netflix markets. You can expect more OCAs in IXPs in the USA and Europe. From these points, the content goes to the ISPs via private or public settlement-free peering.
- The other option that Netflix uses is to provide OCAs for free directly to ISPs. Netflix provides the servers, but space, power, and connectivity are the responsibility of the ISPs. The ISPs have the control to let either all of their clients or just premium users, who pay more, connect to the OCAs.
Netflix and Amazon Web Services.
As we all know, data are considered the new “gold”. Netflix does collect a lot of user data, but they don’t do it with the OCAs. For that purpose, they use AWS. AWS and OCAs are constantly connected. The process goes like this:
- OCAs send information to the AWS about health, connection and available content to the cache control service.
- You, as a client, request to watch the content you like.
- The playback application service will check what you can watch. Then it will provide streaming assets, according to your plan, device, and connection.
- The steering service will use the information in the cache control service to get the video from the respective OCAs. It will generate a link and handle it to the playback application service.
- The playback services will provide the link to the client device and the video will start streaming. Now you can enjoy your show.
Maintenance and monitoring
Netflix constantly monitors its OCAs. The team of Netflix Open Connect can perform various manipulations through the AWS to control and re-adjust them. In the case of a hardware problem, Netflix replaces the broken parts.
So, isn’t the world of content delivery fascinating? Plenty of data servers all around the globe, controlled from the AWS cloud. All of this, just so you can enjoy your favorite show, from almost any point in the world.