Netflix releases customized Amazon control console

Netflix's home-built open source tool manages Amazon workloads

One of the biggest users of Amazon's cloud services, Netflix has released an open source console called Asgard that it developed to manage its Amazon deployments.

A home-built console was necessary for Netflix, given the amount of work it conducts on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

"For everyday large-scale operations, the AWS Management Console has not yet met the needs of the Netflix cloud usage model, so we built Asgard instead," wrote Joe Sondow, the Netflix software engineer for engineering tools who led development of the application.

Amazon's own management tools have a number of shortcomings, Sondow said. For instance, Amazon offers no way to automate the workflow around deploying an application. It does not provide a log of recent administrative actions. And it doesn't provide many ways to integrate in-house engineering tools, such as Jenkins.

Sondow built the application to address these issues, using the Grails framework. Named after the home of the Norse god of thunder and lightning, Asgard allows administrators to manage their Amazon cloud deployments from two perspectives unavailable on Amazon's own management interfaces, that of applications and clusters.

For Netflix, running an application may require multiple Amazon services, including those for load balancing, auto-scaling, launching and security. Asgard provides a single view for managing these services, organized around each application. Asgard maintains an application registry in Amazon SimpleDB, which keeps track of the many resources supporting a single application. It can also show how long each instance of the application has been running and when it was created.

Asgard has a similar interface for managing clusters, one that lists the individual nodes of each cluster. The software can remove individual nodes, a practice called rollback, if they prove to be troublesome. It also can manage a rolling push, in which all the nodes of a cluster are replaced one by one, without disrupting the operation of the cluster as a whole.

Netflix' use of Amazon is expansive. Except for billing and a number of other functions, "We run all of Netflix out of EC2," explained Jeremy Edberg, the lead cloud reliability engineer at Netflix, during a talk at the Qcon developer conference last week in New York City. The company had to use a public cloud because "we couldn't build data centers fast enough," he said. Netflix has 25 million customers who stream movies and televisions shows from the service.

To help its developers quickly create new features and services, Netflix has built an entire platform from CentOS and Ubuntu virtual servers running on Amazon. "We essentially built a PaaS," Edberg said. Developers can easily build Java or Python applications that will run automatically on the platform, which uses the Apache Tomcat, or another application server of the developer's choosing.

As for Asgard, "this a great tool that helps us be very quick and agile in our deployments and management of Amazon," Edberg said. "We are really hoping people will push patches back, because there is stuff that it doesn't yet do."

The code, available on GitHub, is available under a Apache License, Version 2.0.

Amazon itself appears to be pleased with Asgard. Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels praised the technology in a short message posted on Twitter.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?