While researching and writing my next blog entry I came across this blog post from Netflix VP Yury Izrailevsky. It's titled "Completing the Netflix Cloud Migration". It speaks volumes to the real world reasons to become a cloud-native company while addressing the challenges and immense benefits of taking on this feat.
Yury discusses in this post that cost was not a primary motivation to move Netflix to the cloud. The main driver was Netflix's realization that more scalability, reliability, and distributed systems would be required to meet their epic scale of growth. Keep in mind this move started in 2008 and was completed in 2016. When cloud infrastructure was not as ubiquitous as now
Cost savings were ultimately realized as detailed in the quote below:
"Cost reduction was not the main reason we decided to move to the cloud. However, our cloud costs per streaming start ended up being a fraction of those in the data center -- a welcome side benefit. This is possible due to the elasticity of the cloud, enabling us to continuously optimize instance type mix and to grow and shrink our footprint near-instantaneously without the need to maintain large capacity buffers. We can also benefit from the economies of scale that are only possible in a large cloud ecosystem."
Yury also speaks about how moving to the cloud is a journey not to be taken lightly:
"Given the obvious benefits of the cloud, why did it take us a full seven years to complete the migration? The truth is, moving to the cloud was a lot of hard work, and we had to make a number of difficult choices along the way. Arguably, the easiest way to move to the cloud is to forklift all of the systems, unchanged, out of the data center and drop them in AWS. But in doing so, you end up moving all the problems and limitations of the data center along with it. Instead, we chose the cloud-native approach, rebuilding virtually all of our technology and fundamentally changing the way we operate the company."
If you'd like to read more about Netflix's cloud journey follow the link to Yury's blog entry. It's a very informative read.