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The challenges of scale- facebook

May 2, 2009

Big is good. It shows scale, popularity and for advertisers the opportunity to reach masses of people. Scale in the media business is everything. The problem for many of the great online media brands, is that scale presents enormous technical challenges, not forgetting, massive bills for bandwidth.

As an illustration of this, Facebook’s engineering team recently shared some stats on the scale of its photo sharing operation.

“The Photos application is one of Facebook’s most popular features. Up
to date, users have uploaded over 15 billion photos which makes
Facebook the biggest photo sharing website. For each uploaded photo,
Facebook generates and stores four images of different sizes, which
translates to a total of 60 billion images and 1.5PB of storage. The
current growth rate is 220 million new photos per week, which
translates to 25TB of additional storage consumed weekly. At the peak
there are 550,000 images served per second. These numbers pose a
significant challenge for the Facebook photo storage infrastructure.”

220 million photos a week is an astonishing number and the fact on brand has leveraged this opportunity seems incredible.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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