Netflix Making Its Cloud Software Open Source

Developer & Design

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Whether it be for education, help with programming or just out of good will, a lot of companies are now putting their software up as open source. This allows developers to poke and prod at the source code to find out what makes it tick. One company that I never thought would go open source has recently announced it was making the software that runs its cloud business open source. That company is online rental company Netflix.

Speaking to Wired, Adrian Cockcroft says that Netflix will be rolling out its "simian army" to the masses. For those confused by the term "simian army," the company explained the software in a blog post last year. In short, it's a collection of different programs that run the entirety of the Netflix empire. These programs called "monkeys" range from "chaos monkey" to "10-18 Monkey." Their job is to make sure the various components of Netflix's cloud infrastructure run smoothly.

The plan right now is to release the source code of the monkeys over the next few months. Cockcroft says that they are going to "release pretty much all of our platform, including the Monkey infrastructure, over the rest of this year." It's going to start in the summer and continue into the fall. That's all the information we have to go off for now since Cockcroft spends the rest of the interview talking about how they actually run the cloud business for Netflix.

While we don't have a lot of information to go off for now, the source code from Netflix should be especially helpful for startups and medium sized businesses. Cockcroft says just as much in the interview:

"A lot of the medium-sized enterprises still have enough agility and don’t have too much holding them back, so they’re the the ones adopting cloud a little bit more aggressively. The really big ones are still trying to figure it out or are too entrenched in what they’re doing. And the startups — you can’t go to Sand Hill Road and not do cloud now. It’s taken as normal unless you have a very good reason for not doing it.”

Developers would be wise to take advantage of this. Netflix must have some of the best code when it comes to using the cloud since the majority of their business revolves around it now with their streaming service still attracting millions of users.

We'll have more details for you once Netflix starts releasing the source code this summer. Check back then for more open source goodness. Open source software releases is on the way up and I'm sure we're all excited to see which company decides to go open source next.

[lead image: Moby Picture: Werner Vogels]