Why Netflix never buffers, big secret behind its working?


Netflix is pouring hours and hours of video content and you are there to watch, but ever wondered how are they managing all those large video files and get them delivered to you without you waiting for the blink of an eye.

Actually, if we talk in terms of data then Netflix’s whole library would be easily stored upon a few servers inside their main building. Usually, what happens is that big companies have their data stored on multiple servers, so in case if they suffer from breakdown or outage of one server, they would still have backups and other servers which helps them not to disrupt their workflow. But don’t you think that Netflix knows this and still chooses to spend tens and thousands of dollars on data storage and their networks.

This single storage of data or using multiple servers over an expanded geographical area may be the perfect solution for any other network like google or facebook, but not Netflix, they had to get you lightning fast streaming as they’ve promised and being paid for. The question is what they actually do to make their data delivery faster than everyone else?

Netflix doesn’t rely on traditional techniques and takes it one step further. They have partnered up with a number of ISP’s (Internet service providers, Example – Airtel, BSNL) and had their own hardware installed onto their different server locations or exchange points. These devices are called Open Connect Appliance and usually contains about 280 TB of data storage space filled with complete Netflix library including a number of your favourite shows.

This helps the user to connect with Netflix in one single go without following the usual routine of connecting with ISP first and them with their help Connecting to Netflix Servers, which may be situated in Alaska and might not give out the optimum speed that you are looking for.

But it doesn’t end here Netflix only uses these Open Connect Alliance boxes to stream video content and for everything else, they heavily rely on Amazon Web Services, which is a very popular cloud platform.

But, Whoa! stop ‘Amazon’ helping Netflix stream their content? Doesn’t it sound a little bit odd as they have their own Amazon Prime? Well, despite being competitors in the same market Amazon has its reach into almost everything and it can be a good competition against Google when it comes to expansion strategies. From recommending movies through IMDB platform and suggesting what to read via Goodreads to delivering goods at your doorstep, they have it all. They make a ton of money from letting Netflix host their network upon their cloud servers and they know how to do business, so probably they won’t be bailing on such opportunity.

If they would be using the traditional approach then they would give to face a number of problems such as:

  1. High latency, due to the vast geographical distance between the servers and you sitting at home clicking that play button.
  2. A single connection is never possible to build and if made possible somehow, it may cost a fortune which won’t be covered under 800 rupee subscription fees.
  3. Failure to a server might result in the whole service going down and you’d be watching that technical error screen whole day long.

All this process of runs in the background and you never know about it and why should you as you are there to enjoy the show not haggle upon “How this Netflix thing never buffers?”. But as they say ‘Knowledge is power’ and now you have quite a bit of the same about the global favourite in video streaming; Netflix.

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