stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Mon Sep 1 16:21:57 EST 2008
A Peek inside Facebook
Sunday, August 31, 2008 2:10 PM PDT
Started in a dorm room four years ago, the social networking site Facebook
now claims to be the fourth most-trafficked site in the world.
Ninety million active users pound on 10,000 servers every day, uploading
millions and millions of pieces of information in a given month.
For example, "friends," who socialize in 21 languages, add 500 million
photos per month.
At last count, Facebook stored 6.6 billion photos total, more than any
other photo site.
Roughly 400,000 developers & entrepreneurs have built 25,000 applications
for the platform and about 140 new applications are added per day.
Overall there are 25 terabytes of cached data available to help Facebook's
2,000 databases serve up user requests.
Yeah, the infrastructure fairly boils over with activity and Jonathan
Heiliger is the lucky VP of technical operations who gets to stir the pot.
He joined Facebook in October 2007 to oversee its technology set-up, which
many of its 600+ employees tinker with continuously...
CIO recently interviewed Heiliger to talk about his work at Facebook.
CIO: You've done a lot of startups in the past. What lessons from that
experience do you bring to Facebook?
Jonathan Heiliger: The decisions you make early on tend to leave a lasting
impression. It's difficult to change the way a startup is started. One of
the challenges or opportunities that drew me here was going from a purely
engineering-driven culture-writing software for users [for] sharing
information-to now operating this truly large infrastructure. Those are
two very different things. [Early on] you make tradeoffs in IT to speed
development that often can lead to disaster later when you have to operate
five years later..
CIO: What does your infrastructure look like?
Heiliger: Our entire Web site is run on free software. That varies from a
large MySQL site-we're second or third to Yahoo, which is No. 1. And we
are also a PHP site. We have half a dozen open source projects. Another is
the Memcached project. http://www.danga.com/memcached/ I've taken over
stewardship of that project with some of our developers here.
CIO: What have you contributed lately?
Heiliger: One example is Thrift, http://developers.facebook.com/thrift/
which is a language-independent network library that allows different
software and systems to communicate without developers having to do
rewrites of network application layers. That's gotten a respectable
following among Web companies..
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