Netflix Moves to the Cloud: Is this the Future of IT Infrastructure?

Written by Darren Watkins, Managing Director, VIRTUS Published 2016-01-19 11:45:00

Public cloud is becoming a more accepted form of storage as big businesses increasingly move their most prized assets onto servers owned by the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. This is part of a large perception shift that we can see occurring around the public cloud. The public cloud is now often seen as more secure than on premise storage and as a flexible way to manage ever increasing workloads.

In a recent high-profile example of this shift, Netflix announced over the summer that it is moving all of its content to the public cloud, demonstrating huge trust in the technology and a shift in perception in favour of third party cloud service providers.

As a result of this complete shift to the public cloud, Netflix will benefit greatly from the flexibility and scalability offered by these services. Netflix’s customer base has grown significantly over recent years, likely due to the availability of popular shows such as House of Cards, Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. Plans to continue to develop its range of shows, including new series The Crown, based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, will require further flexibility in data storage as new content and user details are added.

Another key benefit is that this public cloud model will provide Netflix with the ability to install points of presence throughout internationally distributed data centres, providing the company with instant access to new markets and an increased customer base. This will be important for Netflix as they continue to meet their ambition of global expansion. The question that remains, however, is will these factors influence other ambitious companies looking to make the same transition?

According to a recent survey of 1500 IT professionals by BetterCloud, only about 12 per cent of companies currently run IT operations entirely in the cloud, but over 20 per cent of large companies are expected to solely use the public cloud for their data storage by 2022. The figures show that while complete reliance on the public cloud is currently relatively rare, this is expected to grow.

However, while there are benefits to public cloud usage, which include flexibility and scalability, IT systems are not a one-size-fits-all operation. IT needs depend on the size, structure and industry of the business, among other factors. What works for Netflix will not necessarily work for everyone and many businesses will find that combining best in class services from a range of providers is the best way to meet their IT needs.

IT systems will need to be right sized in order to ensure that public cloud and other hybrid solutions, including colocation, can complement and grow alongside each other.

Given that all cloud storage is hosted in a data centre, third party colocation providers will still have an important role to play in supporting the public cloud trend. Ultimately, it is colocation providers that will power the growth of public cloud.

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