Netflix open sources Asgard cloud deployment smarts

asgard

Very few companies know how to scale and deploy cloud applications like Netflix, the ginormous movie streaming site. And now it’s making some of that cloud management expertise available to the masses via Github.

On Monday, the company open sourced Asgard,  a Grails and JQuery web interface that Netflix engineers use to deploy code changes and manage resources in the Amazon cloud in a massive way. The technology was named after the home of the Norse gods Norse god of thunder and lightning but was once known as the Netflix Application Console or NAC. And it offers some capabilities that the AWS Console does not.

Asgard, for example, helps engineers track the multiple Amazon Web Service components — AMIs, EC2 instances etc. — used by their application and manage them more efficiently.

As Joe Sondow, the Netflix senior software engineer who leads the project, wrote in the blog:

When there are large numbers of those cloud objects in a service-oriented architecture (like Netflix has), it’s important for a user to be able to find all the relevant objects for their particular application. Asgard uses an application registry in SimpleDB and naming conventions to associate multiple cloud objects with a single application. Each application has an owner and an email address to establish who is responsible for the existence and state of the application’s associated cloud objects.

There’s more information on Asgard and its inner workings here and here. It’s techie stuff but one of Asgard’s chief benefits is that it enables very fast roll-back. So if you’re performing a massive code deployment and something doesn’t look quite right, you can reverse that process on a dime, according to Netflix.

The Twitterverse was impressed.

Netflix is an early and huge adopter of AWS, but has also bolstered that cloud where needed with projects like Asgard. Now third parties can utilize Asgard to manage their own massive code rollouts (and press that fast rollback into service as needed.)

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