Netflix’s Database Management: SQL or NoSQL?

Netflix, the world’s leading streaming entertainment service, has a massive database to manage. With over 200 million paid memberships in more than 190 countries, the company has to handle a vast amount of data. This includes user profiles, viewing history, recommendations, and much more. The question that arises is, does Netflix use SQL or NoSQL for its database management? Let’s delve into the details to find out.

Understanding SQL and NoSQL

Before we answer the question, it’s important to understand what SQL and NoSQL are. SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a programming language used to communicate with and manipulate databases. It is used with relational databases, where data is organized into tables.

On the other hand, NoSQL, or “Not Only SQL”, is a type of database that provides a mechanism for storage and retrieval of data that is modeled in means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases. NoSQL databases are increasingly used in big data and real-time web applications.

Netflix’s Database Management: SQL or NoSQL?

Netflix uses both SQL and NoSQL for different purposes. For transactional data, the company uses relational databases. However, for most of its operational data, Netflix uses NoSQL. The reason for this is the scalability and flexibility that NoSQL offers, which is crucial for a company with such a large and diverse user base.

Why NoSQL?

NoSQL databases are designed to expand and contract easily, making them a great choice for companies that have to manage large amounts of data. They also allow for flexible schema design, which means that as the data requirements change, the database can adapt more easily.

Netflix uses a NoSQL database called Apache Cassandra. Cassandra is designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure. It is a perfect fit for Netflix’s high volume, high velocity data.

Why SQL?

While NoSQL is great for handling large amounts of data, SQL is still useful for transactional data. For example, when a user signs up for a Netflix account, the transactional data is stored in a relational database. This is because SQL databases are great at maintaining data integrity and ensuring that transactions are processed reliably.


In conclusion, Netflix uses both SQL and NoSQL for its database management. The choice between the two depends on the type of data and the specific requirements of the task at hand. By leveraging the strengths of both types of databases, Netflix is able to provide a seamless and personalized experience for its millions of users around the world.