Netflix VP of Ops Leaves to Join Yahoo as CIO

Mike Kail to lead IT and data center operations to support growing online video play.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

August 7, 2014

2 Min Read
Netflix VP of Ops Leaves to Join Yahoo as CIO
The exterior of the Yahoo Computing Coop buildings in Lockport, New York (Photo: Yahoo)

Yahoo has appointed Mike Kail to lead its IT and data center operations as CIO and senior vice president of infrastructure. Kail comes to Yahoo after about three years as vice president of IT operations at Netflix.

As Yahoo ramps up its push into online video, its business strategy will be ever closer tied to its infrastructure strategy. The company has been buying rights to TV shows and movies and has said it will invest in original video content, getting into closer competition with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

At Netflix, Kail was a member of a highly sophisticated infrastructure team. Besides being famous for its popular online video platform, which singlehandedly disrupted the entire video-rental industry, Netflix is known for innovative infrastructure management technology. Its engineers have created a number of their own management tools, many of which they have open sourced.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, to whom Kail will report directly, said the strength of the company’s infrastructure was critical for ensuring high-quality user and advertiser experience. “It also ensures that Yahoos have the tools and technology necessary to execute,” she said in a statement announcing the appointment.

“Mike has the perfect combination of experience and vision to lead our IT and infrastructure to even greater global reach and scale.”

Kail has more than 23 years of IT operations experience, according to Yahoo. Prior to Netflix, he served as vice president of IT operations at Attensity, an unstructured data analytics company, where he led the Americas data center team.

Ongoing Yahoo data center consolidation

Yahoo’s infrastructure team has been consolidating its global data center footprint over the past several years. The company currently has a mix of owned and leased facilities on the east and west coasts of the U.S., as well as in Brazil, Ireland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Australia.

Consolidation efforts are continuing as the company moves servers out of some locations while expanding its footprint in others. It recently bought a chunk of land in Lockport, New York, to expand its already large data center campus there.

The Lockport campus is well-known in the data center industry for its unusual design, using a shape that resembles a chicken coop. The facilities are designed to maximize the flow of outside air through the buildings to take advantage of free cooling as much as possible.

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