Netflix open-sources resiliency tools for distributed services

The Hystrix libraries, now available on GitHub, helped Netflix weather the storm that hit Amazon Web Services last month.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Netflix has open-sourced some of tools it uses to keep its distributed, cloud-based services running.

The company, which hosts all its services and applications in the cloud, announced the move on Monday. In a blog post, Netflix engineer Ben Christensen said the firm had made the Hystrix libraries available on GitHub for anyone who wanted make their distributed services and APIs more resilient when it comes to latency and failure.

"Hystrix does this by isolating points of access between the services, stopping cascading failures across them, and providing fallback options, all of which improve the system's overall resiliency," he wrote.

According to Christensen, "tens of billions of thread-isolated and hundreds of billions of semaphore-isolated calls are executed via Hystrix every day at Netflix", and the results have been impressive. The firm uses a real-time dashboard for monitoring Hystrix, and the engineer said that would soon also be released.

Netflix uses Amazon Web Services as its cloud provider. When AWS went down for many customers in late October, Netflix's services remained relatively unscathed.

As Christensen wrote in a blog post back in February, "it is a requirement of high volume, high availability applications to build fault tolerance into their architecture and not expect infrastructure to solve it for them".

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