At the scale that Facebook operates, a lot of traditional approaches to serving web content break down or simply aren’t practical. The challenge for Facebook’s engineers has been to keep the site up and running smoothly in spite of handling close to half a billion active users. This article takes a look at some of the software and techniques they use to accomplish that.
Facebook’s scaling challenge
Before we get into the details, here are a few factoids to give you an idea of the scaling challenge that Facebook has to deal with:
- Facebook serves 570 billion page views per month (according to Google Ad Planner).
- There are more photos on Facebook than all other photo sites combined (including sites like Flickr).
- More than 3 billion photos are uploaded every month.
- Facebook’s systems serve 1.2 million photos per second. This doesn’t include the images served by Facebook’s CDN.
- More than 25 billion pieces of content (status updates, comments, etc) are shared every month.
- Facebook has more than 30,000 servers (and this number is from last year!)
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Exploring the software behind Facebook, the world’s largest site.