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Facebook details challenges in storing huge amounts of user data

Is working on a project to handle older data more efficiently
Tue Oct 16 2012, 17:08
Facebook's first non-US engineering centre is offically opened in London

SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE Facebook discussed the difficulty it faces in handling large amounts of user data today.

Speaking at the launch of its engineering centre in London, the firm's VP of infrastructure, Jay Parikh said the number of photos and videos being uploaded to the website every day is increasing so rapidly that it presents three main challenges for handling data.

"Not only is the data and volume that we have massive but it's increasing ever so rapidly," Parikh said. "We have this observation that the amount of sharing on Facebook basically doubles every year, with 220 billion photos in total, there's 300 million new photos added every day."

Parikh said, "The first challenge is 'how do you deal with this ever increasing volume of data?' as richer data is uploaded at a higher velocity. The second is the requirement to drive an ever increasing amount of real time response to this data.

"The product teams don't accept slowing down to allow this, they want it faster and faster even though we have a higher influx of data coming in."

The third major challenge facing Facebook is making sure that it is efficient in how it handles the data.

"It's not just a problem of managing software and making it efficient you have to think about the network, the operating system, the hardware, and the data centre," Parikh said.

Facebook said that to handle the large amunts of user data it is working on a project that keeps older user data that isn't as popular and not in recent news feeds, but handles it in a way that is more efficient by not allowing it to take up as many resources as it is stored over the years.

Parikh discussed the issues faced by the social network at the launch event for Facebook's first engineering centre outside the US in London, which will focus on mobile.

The centre was opened today by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at Facebook's existing UK commercial outpost in Covent Garden and will focus on developing better experiences for users of its mobile app, especially those using the Android and IOS operating systems. µ


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