Netflix, it seems, is to cloud computing what Google and Facebook are to distributed systems, generally. Today, Netflix has open sourced its latest technology for keeping its cloud-hosted applications running — a set of libraries, called Hystrix, that is designed to manage interactions between the myriad services that comprise the company’s distributed architecture. If you’re building service-oriented architectures in the Amazon Web Services cloud, it might be worth a look.
Hystrix actually stems from earlier work to add resilience to the Netflix API, the means by which many customer-facing applications access the services they need to run. As Christensen explained in a February 2012 blog post, services are distributed across thousands of instances in AWS, and if there are problems with those services — such as high latency or failed connections between them — it can wreak havoc on the Netflix API and seriously affect the performance of all the applications that depend on it.