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How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
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Decision Consultants
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Decision Consultants,
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4/30/2013 | 3:54:40 PM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
Great interesting article. Interested to know who will win the contest.
mtimc
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mtimc,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 9:19:57 AM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
Joe

Do you mean that Adrian's changed his position from where it was on slide 20 of:http://www.slideshare.net/adri... (March last year)?

Compared to other approaches to portability that I've encountered, NF seems to be quite grown up and pragmatic and actively worried about lock-in.

Can you point me at a relevant citation?
mtimc
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mtimc,
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4/24/2013 | 2:03:01 PM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
Joe
Do you just have a minimal shim abstraction, then?

It seems to me that the AWS API *is* a good (enough) abstraction for now - it's so much richer than the competition and the experience of using it still too limited to establish a more abstract version. Provided your following a decent CD process, you'll have the tests in place to allow you to evolve the abstraction as you learn.

In my experience, abstraction shims can be useful, but they can also cost more than they're worth unless the problem domain is very well understood.

Discuss...
jason833
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jason833,
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4/2/2013 | 11:00:00 PM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
That's an interesting assumption. As matter of fact, I do which is why I chose AWS as my IaaS provider.

AWS has 3 independent Regions in the US (risk management), and it's cheaper to deploy multi-regions using the same toolsets that works for all, then spending time and efforts building your toolsets to work with other IaaS providers (cost management). In addition, combining both, you get stability and ease of management by reducing complexity of your Infrastructure as a whole.

With that said, I'm eagerly waiting for Google Compute Engine to grow into a "tree", as I've read favorable review on its limited preview. Google is probably the only powerhouse out there who can compete with Amazon head-on in terms of scalability and technologies. Thoughts?
David Berlind
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David Berlind,
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4/2/2013 | 10:49:41 PM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
Just a heads up to everyone on this thread that Rackspace CTO John Engates has chimed into the Netflix debate with an op-ed piece on InformationWeek.com. You can find it here: http://www.informationweek.com...
jemison288
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jemison288,
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4/2/2013 | 11:01:08 AM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
I assume you do not work in a risk management or cost management role, then?
jemison288
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jemison288,
User Rank: Moderator
4/2/2013 | 11:00:16 AM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
I would put it this way (and I plan on writing in more detail on this): I think from an IaaS provider, you need the equivalent of EC2 (at least a few machine types), S3, EBS (snapshot/restore/detach/attach), and Security Groups from AWS. Then you should interact with that IaaS through an abstraction layer, not directly with their API, so you can switch to other, similar providers. (Netflix does argue that since they're at least--in some cases--using boto/similar libraries, it will be easier to add support for other clouds, but I am skeptical).

So, on that abstraction layer. Ultimately, from a software architecture standpoint, you can either start from a "I'm going to build a library that interfaces with X API", or you can start from, "I'm going to build a generalized set of interfaces to a certain type of service, and I'm going to translate from my generalized interfaces to specific implementations". I believe--and I think the evidence shows--if you start with the former, it's very hard to connect to other APIs that do similar things, just not in the exact same way. However, if you do the latter, and you are explicit from the beginning that you'll be translating from your outward-facing interfaces to other APIs, you'll have set the project up properly. These are really quite different software engineering projects, and I think that's why you hear the Netflix engineers really focus on the idea that other platforms will have to adopt the AWS API for things to work properly with their tools.

I view the multi-cloud issue as (a) critical, and (b) very hard, for the reasons you mentioned above. So much software uses RDBMS, and multi-master replication is generally speaking not the most reliable thing. Netflix has a good article about how they treat different types of data to handle their multi-region deployment, and I think we're going to have to move to architectures like that to take full advantage of the cloud.

In the end, I think the debate in these comments has more to do with us talking past each other than anything else (as Charles Babcock points out here somewhere). I think we all agree that Netflix has solved their particular use case in a great way, and that open sourcing their tools and giving speeches on their architecture is very useful. Netflix appears to view their AWS API lock-in as a necessary thing to keep for the future (and I don't see why they shouldn't work toward abstracting all of it) and Netflix appears to think that everyone approaching their tools will be capable of making an informed decision about the potential issues of using them (and I think that's a really bad assumption).
mtimc
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mtimc,
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4/1/2013 | 1:06:53 PM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
Joe
Have you got any specific best practices in mind, beyond the obvious one of 'assume cheap, ephemeral hardware'? Which as significant changes on enterprise software. Followed by 'Continuous Delivery' (or deployment for some), so that you've got mechanisms for testing and replacing the components at low risk?

It seems to me that Netflix has done some sterling work in these dimensions, but that it's very unobvious to most enterprises that they are necessary underpinnings of moving to pay as you go infrastructure.

Can you be more specific in the abstractions that you have in mind?

I'd also add that Amazon does seem to be reacting to competition as price drops feel like they are accelerating, even if they are still nowhere near the cost advantage that AWS has according to James Hamilton.
jason833
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jason833,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2013 | 12:52:36 AM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
AWS got an early head start in IaaS offering, and built a massive eco-system with all the building blocks that no others can follow even to this day. I just don't see why anyone would want invest the time and money on cross cloud mobility and multi-cloud tools at this stage.
jason833
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jason833,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2013 | 12:24:18 AM
re: How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing
From where I stand, Joe's taking the name of the contest way too literally; hence, calling out Netflix for implying that the Cloud = AWS.

But are there other trees in the forest, or is it just a 1-tree forest with a bunch of shrubs. Google Compute Engine (GCE) is looking extremely promising, so I'm eagerly watching it grow into a tree.

As for bake v. no bake, it depends on many variables. How big is the infrastructure per service, how large is the change, how many iterations performed per... It's a moot point.
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