[Offtopic] Facebook

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..

Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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