The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is one of the world’s most popular and authoritative sources for movie, TV and celebrity content with more than 100 million unique visitors per month.
Why Amazon Web Services
IMDb uses Amazon CloudFront to host search data for the IMDb magic search feature, finding the movie or person you're looking for in just a few key presses. In the mobile space, every millisecond is precious. Mobile customers especially love getting right to the movie they want without having to type a full search query. Amazon CloudFront makes this experience the fastest possible by distributing the content physically close to our worldwide user base. The speed of light becomes a competitive advantage; there is no data service faster than a static cache geographically nearby.
To get the lowest possible latency, all possible results are pre-calculated with a document for every combination of letters in search. Each document is pushed to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and thereby to Amazon CloudFront, putting the documents physically close to the users. The theoretical number of possible searches to calculate is mind-boggling—a 20-character search has 23 x 1030 combinations—but in practice, using IMDb's authority on movie and celebrity data can reduce the search space to about 150,000 documents, which Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront can distribute in just a few hours. IMDb creates indexes in several languages with daily updates for datasets of over 100,000 movie and TV titles and celebrity names.
While typical services in a centralized data center have a real-world latency floor of around 100ms in the US, a CDN can achieve sub-100ms latencies internationally. "By hosting our search and video files on Amazon CloudFront, we have zero servers to maintain, which makes our reliability sky-high. Amazon CloudFront gives us ultrafast, scalable, and reliable search all over the world," said Doug Treder, senior software developer for IMDb.com. Just for the IMDb iPhone app alone, on a single day in January IMDb had over 2.3M requests, with costs an order-of-magnitude less than that of server hosting.
IMDb also uses Amazon CloudFront to host the latest movie trailers, such as “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” world exclusive premiere. CloudFront helps to protect IMDb's video content with private URLs, and is cost-effective to support millions of viewers per day across our websites and mobile platforms. Figures 1-3 demonstrate IMDb on AWS.
IMDb offers a searchable database of more than 1.8 million movies, TV and entertainment programs and more than 4 million cast and crew members. A free service, IMDb.com celebrated its 20th anniversary in October 2010. IMDb is conveniently accessible anywhere via its popular “Movies & TV” app for iPhone and iPad that has been installed by more than 12 million consumers and is available worldwide in nine languages. IMDb’s mobile platform also features a leading Android app which is available in seven languages and a mobile-optimized website. IMDb.com is operated by IMDb.com, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).