Thursday, October 15, 2009

Facebook Has 30,000 Servers & Serves Up 600K Photos a Second

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How many servers does Facebook have? For some time now, the stock answer has been “more than 10,000 servers,” a number the company began using in April 2008. Facebook has continued to use that number, even as it has soared past 300 million users and dramatically expanded its data center space.

We now have an update: Facebook has 30,000 servers supporting its operations. That number comes from Jeff Rothschild, the vice president of technology at Facebook, who discussed the company’s infrastructure in a presentation last week at UC San Diego (link via High Scalability).

“Today we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 servers,” Rothschild said during the Q&A session following his talk, adding that the number ”will be different today than it was yesterday” because Facebook is adding capacity on a daily basis.


It also suggests that Facebook has added about 20,000 servers since early 2008, which explains why it borrowed $100 million in May 2008 to fund server purchases.

Rothschild also shared some huge numbers associated with Facebook’s photo storage operation, which now stores 80 billion images (20 billion images, each in four sizes). Rothschild said the real challenge isn’t storage, but delivery. ”We serve up 600,000 photos a second,” he said.

The amount of log data amassed in Facebook’s operations is staggering. Rothschild said Facebook manages more than 25 terabytes of data per day in logging data, which he said was the equivalent of about 1,000 times the volume of mail delivered daily by the U.S. Postal Service.

Rothschild also discussed the effectiveness of the company’s engineering operations. Facebook currently has about 230 engineers on staff, who manage data for more than 300 million users. Rothschild said that ratio of one engineer for more than 1 million active users has been Facebook. ”We believe engineers at Facebook have a dramatic impact.”

The 1-hour, 10-minute presentation discusses the company’s commitment to open source technologies and the importance of memcached and Hadoop in their operations.

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