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Summary:

Netflix open sourced the code to Janitor Monkey, a tool it uses to automate the deletion of unused Amazon Web Services resources. It’s easy to spin up cloud compute instances, but not so easy to shut them down as they fall into disuse.

Janitor closet
photo: Flickr / Robert S. Donovan

Those Netflix engineers are at it again — releasing source code to an in-house tool they use to keep their Amazon Web Services pared down and tidy. Janitor Monkey  automates the detection and clean up of unused AWS resources. The advantage of public cloud infrastructure is it’s so easy to spin up new compute instances and add storage willy nilly but not so easy to keep track of those resources as they fall into disuse. That leads to a profusion of under-utilized or totally unused resources — the untidy closet aspect of cloud computing.

netflix-logoBefore, Netflix engineers could use its Asgard  cloud deployment tool to manually delete these unused resources but automation is key here — especially for big, spread-out workloads.

Janitor Monkey is the latest member of Netflix’s Simian Army tool set which also includes Chaos Monkey. Open sourced in July, Chaos Monkey shuts down computing instances in a controlled way to ensure that applications keep running even when a virtual server goes down unexpectedly.

Netflix is famously one of AWS’ biggest users and has tons of savvy about how to make the most of those services — which is why it’s ironic that Netflix itself has been brought low by problems at the AWS US-East data center as evidenced in the great Christmas Eve on-demand video meltdown of 2012.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Robert S. Donovan

  1. Before we underestimate the impact of Netflix on the Internet overall, here is an interesting stat:

    Netflix Is 30 Percent Of All Internet Traffic

    http://statspotting.com/2011/05/netflix-is-30-percent-of-all-internet-traffic/

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