Netflix has seen tremendous growth in recent years, supporting 800+ device types for more than 30M streaming customers. This growth presents amazing technical challenges. At the center of it all is the Netflix Internal API, quietly handling billions of requests a day.
The charter for the Netflix API, however, was not always to support device implementations for Netflix members. Rather, it started as a program to enable third-party developers. With the emergence of the streaming service, most of the engineering effort for UIs and devices is done by internal engineering teams. Given the shift, the Netflix API is now primarily focused on supporting those internal teams. To best support them, we have decided to abandon the REST API that previous drove the third-party developers in favor of a more optimized interaction model. We now have a platform for API development which provides supreme flexibility and independence for the UI teams.
To support this increasingly complex system, the Netflix API focuses on tackling, among others, the following key challenges:
- Supporting rapid innovation across myriad devices of differing capabilities
- Building and innovating around a robust and distributed cloud application
- Scaling the system as requests, members, devices and regions grow
- Ensuring resiliency in the face of dependency failures
- Creating tools and automation to provide insight into system health
- Enabling rapid and very frequent innovation through comprehensive test, build and analysis automation
In this session, I plan to go deep into each of these topics. I plan to share the technical vision and execution that enables the Netflix API to be as robust as the business and systems that it supports.
Daniel Jacobson is the Director of Engineering for the API at Netflix, responsible for delivering Netflix content to hundreds of devices. Prior to Netflix, he was Director of Application Development at NPR, leading the development of NPR’s custom content management system. He also created NPR’s API which became the distribution channel for getting NPR content to mobile platforms, member station sites throughout the country as well as to the public developer community. Daniel also co-authored the O’Reilly book, “APIs: A Strategy Guide.”
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