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Netfix to ditch data center, embrace cloud

Netflix no longer wants to run a data center to support its in-house IT services. Instead, it's shifting internal applications to Amazon's cloud and turning to software-as-a-service providers for other business systems.

Mike Kail, vice president of IT operations at Netflix, said he wants to move at least 95% of the company's corporate IT systems to the cloud.

The corporate IT operations are separate from the company's streaming video service, which already runs on Amazon's cloud.

At most, Kail says, he'll have two racks running 50 virtual servers. Such a setup would fit into a closet; it wouldn't require the data center Netflix has now, which runs 2,500 virtual servers. The goal is to finish the move within 18 months.

Kail said that using public cloud services means not paying for power and space, and not having to worry about hardware refreshes or operating system patches. Those are "time-consuming tasks that don't really add value," he said.

This project won't change the skills employees need to manage IT. "Unless you are a person that likes racking gear," Kail said, "you are still managing the same technology and services."

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Read more about cloud computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.

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