Feeds

Social networks talk hidden architectures

Back-stage bytes

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Aditya Agarwal, director of engineering, laid out the system that drives this. Many of Facebook's user-facing pages are run off the LAMP stack - Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. For things that don't work well in that stack, the company writes custom services.

PHP is the company's preferred language, he said, because it's a good language for web apps, has a strong community, and it's good for rapid iteration. But PHP is tough to scale for large code bases, so they had develop customizations and optimizations using the memcache distributed memory object caching system.

"I love memcache," he said. "It's what makes our site super quick."

MySQL proved to be quick and reliable for user data - Facebook has suffered no data losses since it started using it, he said. But it made the logical migration of data almost impossible. They handled load balancing by creating a large number of logical instances and spreading them across a number of physical nodes.

The Ning and I

After his work on the the Mosaic browser and having co-created browser pioneer Netscape Communications, net whizz-kid Marc Andreessen went on to co-found social network Ning. The company's infrastructure today powers nearly 610,000 independent social networks. The T. Boone Pickens alternate energy site among them. Pickens drew national attention through his ads during the recent US presidential election. "It's like having 600,000 different instances of front and back end, all working together," senior vice president of product engineer Jay Parikh said.

The site's architecture lets developers get into the code level to modify their networks. Developers can write their own code and run it in the Ning back end or its execution environment. And all the features built in the social network layer are exposed as platform APIs, he said.

Ning uses Java for its back-end systems and PHP for the front end. Ruby, Python, Solaris, and Windows also have roles in the Ning system. And the apps themselves call and invoke hundreds of different REST services. A discovery layer allows services to find each other for dependencies, and a dynamic content store. Among other security measures, Ning has developed some custom tools to provide each social network with its own sandbox within the PHP environment.

Dan Pritchett, chief platform architect at e-business social network Rearden Commerce and a former technical fellow at eBay speaking at QCon, summed up the challenge they all face. "Society has been changed dramatically by the internet," he said. "We're now able to interact with people on a scale that we never could before.

"But the concept of social networks and interconnections between individuals doesn't really scale very well. We've always treated users as individuals, rather than parts of a community. As we change that point of view, we get more and more interesting challenges."®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.