Video streaming is a huge business and takes a tremendous amount of data to operate... so, how does a service like Netflix actually work?
Gone are the days of your local video store, like Block Busters, where you'd browse around for a good amount of time until you pick out a movie that grabs your attention, then take the tape home, watch it, then return it. Nowadays, we have online video libraries with thousands of movies and series at our disposal.
But the average HD movie is around 1 GB in size. With Netflix alone being responsible for a third of all downloaded internet traffic in the United States, how is it that we are able to stream such a large amount of data together with hundreds of thousands of other people around the world – at the same time – without causing Netflix to go down?
Unlike other platforms that make use of a large server, Netflix combats this issue by making use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to both store and transmit movies and shows. Although Netflix will be able to store its entire library of content on a relatively small server, the problem comes down to location. Further away countries will suffer greatly from high latency issues. A CDN solves these issues by making use of hundreds of redundant servers around the world with the same library, which evens out the workload and also serves to be useful as a backup in the event that one server goes down.
Take a look a the video below by YouTube channel, Linus Tech Tips, on How Does Netflix Actually Work?