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"Automating Operations of a Global CDN" by Robert Fernandes

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Published on Sep 15, 2019

Aspects of the Netflix growth story are very visible - the transition from physical media delivery to digital streaming, or from a domestic focus to a global one. However, there are some transitions that may be less noticeable.

One example of these unnoticed transitions is from reliance on commercial CDN providers for content delivery, to utilizing an in-house, purpose-built global CDN known as Open Connect. This is the sole provider of all Netflix streaming content.

Efficiently operating this global CDN requires more than just competent personnel. There is heavy reliance on software automation and tooling, which helps the CDN scale at a faster pace than the headcount required to run it.

Given the fast-paced growth of Netflix streaming, there have been many challenges in how to best support Open Connect operations with automation. Teams emerged to collectively build applications that help meet these needs, but over time these applications ballooned to relatively large, siloed monoliths that are functional, but often difficult to deploy and manage.

Through this talk, you will receive insight into how we have streamlined our automation story. How we actively transitioned from large monoliths to a more decomposed, scalable set of microservices we refer to as the Open Connect Administration Platform. You will be walked through our automation journey - our history, our future, the pitfalls we have encountered and the lessons we have learned along the way.

Robert Fernandes
Netflix
@bovilexic

For the last 2 years Robert Fernandes has lead the Open Connect Tools team within Netflix, which handles the software automation and tooling for the Netflix global CDN. Prior to managing this team, he was a contributing engineer on the team for over 4 years - helping to build and maintain a large portion of the suite of solutions it takes to operate the CDN. Prior to Netflix, Robert spent over a decade in the government R&D space working for a national research laboratory, followed by a few years in the area of enterprise business collaboration software. His entire career has been spent as an architect and a generalist, working on all parts of the stack - from data and persistence, to middle tier services and APIs, all the way up to front end design and development using a variety of UI frameworks.

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