How Netflix built its analytics in the cloud with Tableau and AWS

Netflix uses Tableau to connect to and analyze massive volumes of data

As Netflix has famously grown to support more than one-third of all internet traffic, the organization has needed to expand its data capabilities to suit. Its extensive analytics platform built on Tableau and Amazon Web Services offers a fantastic blueprint for organizations who are looking to build scalable and flexible business intelligence in the cloud.

Building analytics to scale

With 86 million members and counting, Albert Wong, Netflix’s Reporting Platform Manager, has to build everything related to analytics at scale. The company’s data platform, shown above, is a complex but elegant system built on events and operational data fed into Amazon S3. Data is then sent, depending on end use, into Amazon Redshift or a series of NoSQL data processors that are then aggregated into Tableau Data Extracts.

This data lake/data warehouse strategy allows Netflix to collect and store massive amounts of data, but also provide a high level view of the data to analyze and explore. Of course, all of the data connections and extracts end up on Tableau Server, hosted on EC2.

Supporting power users of Tableau with managed data

Netflix uses Tableau Data Server so it can reuse its data sources and govern them across a wide range of users. For instance, one of the most important dashboards that Albert developed is one that shows usage and watch patterns within individual countries. With these dashboards, country managers can more easily manage the programming for their audiences.

Even though there are dozens of people that benefit from that dashboard, only one data source is used to feed it. Albert also sets permissions at both the group and individual level across the data source, ensuring that every team has access to the right information. By using Data Server, Albert can help his team answer multiple questions with a single governed dataset.

Join us for our webinar, Tableau in the Cloud: A Netflix Original, with Albert on Feb. 15 to hear his insights on managing Hadoop with Tableau and expanding Netflix’s architecture to meet the company’s growing needs.

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