Published on Jan 09,2015
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Facebook today is a world-wide phenomenon that has caught up with young and old alike. Launched in 2004 by a bunch of Harvard University students, it was least expected to be such a rage. In a span of just a decade, how did it manage this giant leap?

With around 1.23 billion users and counting, Facebook definitely has an upper hand over other social media websites. What is the reason behind this success? This blog is an attempt to answer some of these queries.

It is quite evident that the existence of a durable storage system and high technological expertise has contributed to the support of various user data like managing messages, applications, personal information etc, without which all of it would have come to a staggering halt.So what does a website do when its user count exceeds the number of cars in the world? How does it manage such a massive data?

Data Centre: The Crux of Facebook

Facebook’s data center is spread across an area of 300,000 sq ft in cutting edge servers and huge memory banks; it has data spread over 23 million ft of fiber optic cables. Their systems are designed to run data at the speed of light making sure that once a user logs into his profile, everything works faster. With 30 MW of electricity, they have to make sure that they’re never out of power. The warehouse stores up to 300 PB of Hive data with an incoming daily rate of 600 TB.

Every computer is cooled by heat sync not bigger than a match box, but for Facebook computers, the picture is evidently bigger. Spread over a huge field, there are cooling systems and fans that help balance the temperature of these systems. As the count increases, trucks of storage systems keep pouring in on a daily basis and employees are now losing a count of it.

Hadoop & Cassandra: The Technology Wizards

The use of big data has evolved and for Facebook’s existence Big Data is crucial. A platform as big as this, requires a number of technologies that will enable them to solve problems and store massive data. Hadoop is one of the many Big Data technologies employed at Facebook, which is insufficient for a company that is growing every minute of the day. Hadoop is a highly scalable open-source framework that uses clusters of low-cost servers to solve problems. One of the other technologies used and preferred is Cassandra.

Apache Cassandra was initially developed at Facebook to power their Inbox Search feature by two proficient Indians Avinash Lakshman  and Prashant Malik, the former being an author( Amazon Dynamo) and the latter a techie. It is an open-source distributed database management system  designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure.

Cassandra offers robust support for clusters spanning multiple data centers. Hence, Cassandra aims to run on top of an infrastructure of hundreds of nodes. There are failures at some point of time, but the manner in which Cassandra manages it, makes it possible for anyone to rely on this service.

Facebook, along with the other social media websites, avoids using MySQL due to the complexity in getting good results. Cassandra has overpowered the rest and has proved its capability in terms of getting quick results. Facebook had originally developed Cassandra to solve the problem of engine search and to be fast and reliable in terms of handling the ability to read and write requests at the same time. Facebook is a platform that instantly helps you connect to people far and near and for this, it requires a system that performs and matches the brand.

Got a question for us? Mention them in the comments section and we will get back to you.

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Introduction to Cassandra Architecture

Get Started with Cassandra

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Published on Jan 09,2015

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