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Social Media King Facebook Revolutionise Data Centre Too
[Image: 3066288-poster-p-1-facebook-data-center-build.jpg]

Do you enjoy looking at your friends’ Instagram photos? Cherish the Facebook updates about your cousin’s new baby? Rely on Messenger to chat with your college friend living abroad? Or love the immersive nature of Oculus Rift experiences?
None of that would be possible without the people who’ve developed, built, and maintained Facebook’s global data center infrastructure.
In 2009, when Facebook had just a fraction of the 1.8 billion users it has now, not to mention none of the other apps and companies it owns—Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus—the company operated a single data center, really just a set of servers, at a location close to its Silicon Valley headquarters.
Soon, though, as Facebook vice president of engineering Jay Parikh explained to me recently, the company realized it needed to expand to a second location, on the East Coast. In short order, more expansion followed.
Everything Facebook does is "very, very interconnected," Parikh said. "It’s not something where you can say, Hey, let’s take our users in California, and put them on servers in California" and do the same for users in other geographic areas. All users are connected to everything the company does, and to all other users, and that presented the company with significant engineering challenges.
In those days, Facebook still relied entirely on third-party hardware and co-location facilities for its server infrastructure. Over time, though, it has abandoned that reliance on outside technology and facilities and starting in 2009, has built its own network of data centers, infrastructure that it believes is among the most energy-efficient in the industry and that’s essential to delivering the daily experience of its gigantic user base.
The idea? To make it possible for Facebook’s engineers, and those building its apps, to be able to develop new services and then quickly deploy them throughout the entire user base.
An example? Taking something like Facebook Live, which was originally developed as a hackathon project, and launching it to the full Facebook community within five months.
"We treasure that as a core part of our culture," Parikh said, "to move fast and deliver experiences to a very big community."

As Facebook began building out its own data centers, it was tempting to simply "lather/rinse/repeat" the kinds of facilities like the one it had built in Prineville, Oregon in 2011. In fact, said Parikh, it became an in-house joke that that’s all the company needed to do.

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