Netflix DevOps is admired around the world for their Developer productivity. Netflix bases their success on the ability to collect data from their 75 million members worldwide and use it to keep improving their offering to targeted audiences. How do they achieve this success?
Part of their success comes from their well-known culture of Freedom and Responsibility which they call F&R, which is a part of the emergent topic of “DevOps Culture”. But another key facet of their success is having a highly integrated DevOps Tool chain which enables Continuous Delivery of software.
Continuous Delivery allows Netflix DevOps to release certain features and content to subsets of viewers to test how popular they are. This level of experimentation required Netflix to work on highly automated build and deployment processes used for delivering software. Their priority was the maintainability and reusability of their code while eliminating manual steps.
That’s why they decided to automate their build and deployment processes used for delivering software. Gradle is a key part of their automation tool chain. In a recent blog post, Netflix explains why Gradle suits their needs so well. They created Nebula, an opinionated set of plugins for the Gradle build system.
“Nebula extends the robust build automation functionality provided by Gradle with a suite of open source plugins for dependency management, release management, packaging, and much more.”
Nebula benefits from Gradle’s first-class support for building, testing, and packaging Java applications, which covers the majority of their code. As a result projects in the organization significantly reduced the boilerplate for build logic by introducing conventions and standards. Developers mainly focus on the implementation of their business logic instead of having to deal with complex, unmaintainable build code.
Their selection criteria for a build system is detailed in their Introduction to Nebula post.
Prior to Nebula, Netflix software was built using an Ant and Ivy based solution we called CBF (Common Build Framework). All Java software at Netflix was built using CBF. The Engineering Tools team at Netflix built and supported CBF. As CBF usage grew, the team felt the increasing challenges of supporting a large Ant/Ivy-based build system.
They began looking for a build tool that:
- Enabled testability
- Provided first class support for Java applications
- Had a rich community and ecosystem
- Allowed us to vastly simplify build files
The team began to look around the industry for alternative build systems and decided that Gradle was the best solution for Netflix. The results of that conversion to Gradle is Nebula.
Read the complete post by Netflix Developer Productivity Manager Mike McGarr to more about how Netflix DevOps builds code at the Netflix Blog.