Coffee-Python-Popcorn-Netflix! (how Netflix is using Python)

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The next time you’re streaming on Netflix, while you are thinking what to watch next please do take a minute to thank popular programming language Python and the developers who use it for much of the experience.

Netflix – This internet entertainment giant is a huge proponent of Python, using the language primarily for data analysis and back end services. It allows their software engineers to choose what language to code in, and have noticed a large upsurge in the number of Python applications.

Quoting the Python developers at Netflix, “the language is used through the “full content lifecycle”, from security tools to its recommendation algorithms, and its proprietary content distribution network (CDN) Open Connect”
Python at Netflix.

Python at Netflix

How Python is helping Netflix to grow

Open Connect Network

Actually, it is imprecise but still, thinking about Netflix infrastructure, it is everything that happens before you press Play on your remote control!

What plan do you have? what have you watched so we can recommend new titles to you? or what do you want to watch? takes place in Amazon Web Services (AWS), whereas everything that happens afterward i.e., video streaming takes place in the Open Connect network.

The network devices that are fundamental for a large portion of the CDN are managed by Python applications. Applications track the inventory of network gear: what devices, of which models, with which hardware components, located in which sites.

“We are proud to say that our team’s tools are built primarily in Python,” the team writes.

Demand Engineering

Netflix’s demand engineering team brings flexibility into the network by introducing regional content and balancing the distribution of Netflix’s traffic.

Certain types of tools give Netflix a strong front stand are — Numpy and Scipy for numerical analysis, Boto3 for AWS infrastructure, rq for running asynchronous workloads, Flask APIs are used as a wrapper around the synchronization tools above.
Netflix uses Python to build custom extensions to the Jupyter server that allows engineers to manage tasks like logging, archiving, publishing and cloning notebooks.


Meanwhile, the big data synchronization team provides services and tools for scheduling. There are usually thousands of signals after an alert which wait for their analysis. To aid this Netflix’s CORE team uses many Python statistical and mathematical libraries that again include Numpy, Scipy, ruptures, and Pandas. On top of that, Python is also typically used for automation tasks, data exploration and cleaning, and visualization.

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Insight Engineering

This was all about the main “Demand engineering”. Except this, there is an Insight Engineering team. It is responsible for building and operating the tools for operational insight, alerting diagnostics, and auto-remediation. As the demand for Python is increasing at this pace, the team supports Python clients for most of their services. The Python frameworks Gunicorn, Flask, Flask-RESTPlus were also used to create Netflix’s Winston and Bolt diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.

Information Security

To name a few high leverage goals for Netflix: security automation, risk classification, auto-remediation, and vulnerability identification — all accomplished using Python. One of the most active open-source projects- security monkey. It is used for monitoring AWS, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, and GitHub for applying changes to assets. Repokid allows the use of Python for helping with IAM (Identity and Access Management) permission tuning. Whereas Lemur is used to help generate TLS certificates. Netflix also uses the Diffy forensics triage tool, which is built entirely using Python.

Machine Learning Infrastructure

All the machine learning training models from recommendation algorithms to artwork personalization to marketing algorithms, Netflix relies extensively on all of these in Python. Many applications are powered by Metaflow, a Python framework that makes it easy to execute ML projects from the first model to the final product. CPU cores, millions of computational tasks and handling hundreds of millions of data points in memory, Netflix depends on Python code for fetching it.

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Many of the components of the balancing service are written in Python. Starting with scheduler, which uses Jupyter Notebooks with papermill to provide molded job types like Spark. This allows users to have an easy way to express work that needs to be executed.

Internally, there are event-driven platforms that are fully written in Python. It helps in defining conditions to filter events, and actions to react or route them. As a result of this, microservices are segregated and visibility is provided into everything that happens on the data platform.

Partner Ecosystem

The Partner Ecosystem group is expanding its use of Python for testing Netflix applications on devices. Python is the core of a new CI infrastructure, including balancing servers, controlling Spinnaker, test case querying and filtering, and scheduling tests run on devices and containers. The additional post-run analysis is being done in Python using TensorFlow to determine which tests are most likely to show problems on which devices.

Netflix Animation and NVFX

Python is the industry standard for all of the major applications used to create Animated and VFX content. All of the integrations with Maya and Nuke are in Python, and the bulk of Shotgun tools are also in Python. Netflix is also getting hands-on tooling in the cloud, and anticipate deploying many of their custom Python AMIs.

The reason that the services are written in Python is due to the extremely active development community, and the rich variety of third-party libraries available to solve nearly any given problem.

Not only Netflix but many major companies are also using Python. What are you waiting for? When will you start using it? Start learning Python by Yourself NOW!!


Netflix, being a $12 billion earmarked entertainment company with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries which enjoy TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. So you can watch as much as you want, anytime, anywhere, on any Internet-connected screen. You can play, pause and resume watching, all without any commercial or any commitment!

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1 Response

  1. Rohit says:

    Nyc.. informative.but if you can post the source code then it is much more useful..

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