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August 14, 2015

Netflix gives up on data centres to turn 100% to cloud

Online streaming firm plans total shift to the cloud.

By Joao Lima

Netflix is planning to switch off its last data centre in the coming months, seeking to run its internet streaming services from the public cloud.

The firm said it will be "fully reliant" on Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud, both for digital services and IT infrastructure.

Netflix told the CIO Journal, WSJ: "For our streaming business, we have been 100% cloud-based for customer facing systems for some time now, and are planning to completely retire our data centres later this summer."

Netflix said it has been planning to close its last data centre since 2008, year when it experienced a major hardware failure.

The firm added that this prompted it to move to AWS deploying its jobs page in the cloud that same year. Since the first shift, Netflix has also moved its video player, iPhone related technology, discovery and search, accounts pages, big data platform, and payments solutions to the cloud.

In 2010, the company wrote in a blog post that "cloud environments are ideal for horizontally scaling architectures. We do not have to guess months ahead what our hardware, storage, and networking needs are going to be. We can programmatically access more of these resources from shared pools within AWS almost instantly."

The move prompted mixed reactions from the tech industry with some comments focusing on full adoption of cloud services by other companies, costs and on security issues.

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Alex Guillen, Go to Market Marketing Manager at Insight UK, told CBR that he does not believe we will see a trend of companies moving completely into the cloud, "but organisations will opt for Hybrid IT instead".

Daniel Beazer, Analyst at Peer 1 Hosting, also said the total shift to the cloud "is rare, and will remain so for a while".

He added: "Cloud is still expensive versus running your own data centre for predictable workloads. And there are loads of applications out there which need re-writing for the cloud, for most companies it is just too time consuming and expensive to undertake the exercise."

Martin Ashall, CTO UK at CA Technologies, told CBR: "Being 100% cloud gives businesses unprecedented flexibility, agility and scalability and there are reasons to believe more businesses will move entirely to the cloud in the near future."

Ashall added that such business models do not come without certain risks and organisations that hold all data and applications in the cloud need to ensure they have "impeccable security" and are able to provide availability of service to their customers at all times.

He said: "They need to put appropriate security protocols in place, provide training to their employees on how to keep information and data secure, and focus on identity and access management to minimise the risks."

Andy Soanes, CTO at Bell Integration, told CBR: "Concerns about loss of control mean it is rare to see an organisation jumping into cloud with both feet and leaving on-premise IT behind. Yet at the same time finding the sweet spot, where the business is gaining the maximum benefit from a perfect balance of on-premise IT, private cloud and public cloud services can be extremely difficult."

A survey of 1,500 IT professionals by BetterCloud found that today, about 12% of companies run IT operations entirely in the cloud. The company predicts over 20% of large enterprise companies to operate entirely in the cloud by 2022.

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