Netflix is one of the major companies to utilize FreeBSD servers. Their streaming services account for a large amount of internet traffic in many countries.
Netflix will soon use the HTTPS protocol to authenticate and encrypt customer streams, a move that helps ensure what users watch stays secret. The move now leaves Amazon as one of the most noticeable no-shows to the Web encryption party.
Flipping on the HTTPS switch on Netflix’s vast network of OpenConnect Appliances (OCAs) has been anything but effortless. That’s because the demands of mass movie streaming can impose severe penalties when transport layer security (TLS) is enabled. Each Netflix OCA is a server-class computer with a 64-bit Xeon CPU running the FreeBSD operating system. Each box stores up to 120 terabytes of data and serves up to 40,000 simultaneous, long-lived connections, a load that requires as much as 40 gigabits per second of continuous bandwidth. Like Amazon, Netflix has long encrypted log-in pages and other sensitive parts of its website but has served movie streams over unsecured HTTP connections. Netflix took the unusual step of announcing the switch in a quarterly earnings letter that company officials sent shareholders Tuesday.