Here's How Netflix Delivers TV Shows And Movies Around Australia

You might think that for a company like Netflix to release TV shows and movies digitally, it should be as simple as chucking the library on some servers, then sending it to you from across the other side of the world -- but there's much more to it than that.

Ken Florance is the Emmy award-winning man who, as vice president of content delivery at Netflix, keeps the videos streaming. Without Florance and his team, you wouldn't have anything to binge on a Sunday night -- he's in charge of Open Connect, the servers Netflix built from scratch specifically to make video streaming as hassle-free as possible.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

But those servers don't just sit in the basement of Netflix HQ in Los Gatos, because Netflix is planting them inside internet providers across the world. That's important, and here's why.

In Australia, there's at least one Open Connect server in every state for every major internet provider.

The point of it is to help reduce load on the network, as well as making it cheaper for internet providers to handle congestion on their networks.

There's one of these in each major internet provider data centre in Australia.

So inside each internet provider's servers is a dedicated Netflix server. And inside each dedicated Netflix server is every single show or movie on Netflix.

Master copies of new TV seasons and movies are all sent from the US directly to that server. This means that each video file only gets sent to Australia from the US just once, or the equivalent of one stream, with two copies kept on each server, taking about 15 minutes all up.

From there, nearly every individual stream to an Australian household comes from servers in Australia.

If the content comes from as close as possible to the person watching it, the less strain it can cause on the network, which means everyone's connection shouldn't slow down when the whole neighborhood is watching House of Cards.

In more densely populated areas, Netflix will have a second Open Connect server in smaller internet provider exchanges that can hold around 80% of the library. That again reduces the strain on streaming to crowded marketplaces.

This is important for Netflix. The company is a big believer in net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers should provide access to all content equally regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

Opponents of net neutrality see a future where ISPs should be able to charge internet TV providers such as Netflix a higher rate to pass on a good experience over their network.

Netflix has simply taken on its own responsibility of getting video traffic to users quickly.

Florance believes we're just at the start of the internet TV revolution, and the next challenge is trying to work with mobile operators to grow mobile video support.

In an ideal future, Netflix will have partnered with big telcos and equipment manufacturers to have Open Connect servers installed at major mobile towers. This will then help avoid the congestion over network backhaul, eliminating a major barrier for telcos to stream regular video to customers.

Netflix already serves more than 125 million hours of content a day, has over 75 million subscribers and made $1.2 billion in revenue last quarter, and as that grows, technologies such as Open Connect will become crucial for everyone.

Harry Tucker traveled to Los Gatos as a guest of Netflix.



    is that two rows of 13, two of 4, and lets say, 2 more drives in that bracket above what I'm guessing is the motherboard, = 36 drives.

    This matches up with their 2014 design(36 drives) that were quoted to store 100TB.

    As Netflix had over 1000TB of content back then, they would need a few of these to store "the whole library" unless Australian content is a considerably limited subset. On that note, people connecting to other countries Netflix must be bogging down Australia's international bandwidth (as these presumably wouldn't source from these local proxies)

    Imagine how much more efficient everything would be, how much more bandwidth we'd have as a country, if it wasn't for shitty regional licensing.

      I enquired about getting one of these within our network and you need to be ingress about 5Gbps from the Netflix servers to obtain some. Google requires about 800Mbps and Akamai 200Mbps for their cache appliances. Pretty much T1 carriers only at this time for Netflix....Google and Akamai have a much more reasonable peering/caching policy.

      I don't think that's a picture of one of their ACTUAL servers

        I have seen two of the local servers in hobart and the face plates are at least identical. But they where Red and had a clever phrase printed on each one :P

        Last edited 23/03/16 9:07 pm

      Australia has ample bandwidth to deal with Netflix from OS - it's just some of the most expensive transit bandwidth in the world. CDN networks pay approx 5 times as much for bandwidth than in the US - making it not as profitable or worthwhile for many services. These issues are holding back innovation and delivery of new services in our country - monopoly on transit links and the fact we are 7000km from Guam with 20 odd million subscribers makes it not worthwhile for competition. Nice place to live though :)

      Great point regarding people using a VPN. I've never thought of it like that.

      As the article states it doesn't hold the whole library. It could be closed to what youtube does and stores the most popular content locally.

    I think that is an actual photo. Specs on the server below from their isp partner program

    Component Vendor & Model Quantity
    Chassis Sanminax 1
    Motherboard Supermicro X10SRL-F x1
    Processor Intel E5-2697V3 x1
    Memory 8GB ECC 1333MHz x8
    Hard Drive Hitachi He8 Helium Drives x36
    Solid State Drive Micron M600 1024GB x6
    Controller LSI SAS 9211-8i 8 port x5
    Network Card Chelsio T540-CR Quad Port 10 Gigabit Ethernet x4
    Redundant Power Supply Unit (AC/DC options) M1U2-5750V4H & DM1U2-5750V4H x1

      wow nice. I like that they use the bargain basement LSI drive controller that pretty much every average person uses in their budget DIY NAS.

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