05 Jul, 2014
Ever wondered how many photos there are on Facebook? Every day you and the people in your friends list alone upload so many photos that there's no way you can keep track of them all. At that rate, how many photos do you think are uploaded every day by the billion strong users of Facebook? A jaw dropping 350 million+.
There are over 250 billion photos uploaded since the very beginning of the website. Where does all of that go? I haven't even mentioned the videos, status updates, likes, pokes, messages, comments and other posts shared every second.
Facebook, from the very beginning, knew the importance of "uptime", or what we can refer to as the "always on" factor. What this means is that they have always invested big in their servers so that they never end up with server down time. Server down time always means one thing: disappointed users. If your users are not getting what they want, they are only a split-second away from finding the next best alternative. So what are they doing about it?
They have huge server farms. Yes, that's what they are called, farms. Probably because they operate the servers there, feed them, take care of them, and bring more as their need increases. Just like what you'll do with cows in your everyday farm. Facebook says that it stores over 300 petabytes of data in there. Now what is a petabyte?
1 petabyte = 1024 Terabytes = 1024 x 1024 Gigabytes = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 Megabytes
Unfathomable, to say the least. Nowadays, most people don't know what a floppy disk is. So, I'll go with CD's. A CD stores about 600 MB. If I do a little bit of math, I get 53,68,70,912 CD's worth of data to hold 300 petabytes. A CD is 1.2 mm in thickness. If you were to stack that many CD's, it will be over 644 km in height. Maybe that's a bit of perspective.