Facebook to Store Your Seldom-Used Posts in 'Cold Storage'

By Tracey E. Schelmetic February 21, 2013

If you have a Facebook account – like one billion people on Planet Earth do – chances are, you post photos to your account: baby pictures, embarrassing college photos, vacation snaps and the odd nature or wildlife shot. While you may not even remember what photos you’ve posted to your page, Facebook does. And the company’s battalions of servers are getting a bit more crowded every day.

According to Facebook, about 82 percent of its traffic is focused on just eight percent of its photos, which means that 92 percent of the photos posted to the site are simply languishing, seldom visited or commented upon. Those are a lot of photos to store, and for Facebook, which prides itself on its green data centers, they are becoming a bit of a problem.

To resolve the issue, the company is reportedly flirting with a more efficient storage system at its Prineville, Oregon data center. Called “cold storage,” it will store archival posts that are seldom accessed, but still expected to be available to users, Oregon Live is reporting this week. The company will soon begin work on the creation of three 16,000-square-foot data hubs that will hold an exabyte of data, or one quintillion bytes: nearly half of the world's entire technological capacity to store information in 1986. (Or about one million PC hard drives.)

Unlike the servers that hold Facebook’s active material, these servers will spend most of their time “asleep,” with only a few alert and ready to wake the servers that can deliver old data. Facebook says there might be a short delay experienced by users retrieving this old material, but it will be largely imperceptible.

“The principle will be so that it doesn’t impact the user experience – so think about a matter of seconds, or milliseconds,” said Michael Kirkland, a Facebook communication manager.

The benefit of this is energy use. Keeping servers active all day to serve material that is seldom requested wastes energy and runs costs up. This facility will be five times more energy efficient than a “warm” data center and will cost one-third less to run.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

TechZone360 Contributor

Related Articles

AT&T Announces Plans to Buy Time Warner

By: Paula Bernier    10/24/2016

AT&T over the weekend revealed plans to purchase Time Warner Inc. in a deal valued at more than $85 billion, driving down both of their stocks and dra…

Read More

Google Adds CBS to its Unplugged Roster

By: Steve Anderson    10/21/2016

Over-the-top Web-based television seems to be the way of the future, as demonstrated by Netflix, Hulu, and a host of developments to follow, along wit…

Read More

A New Stock Price High for Microsoft?

By: Steve Anderson    10/21/2016

It would be easy to think that Microsoft's stock price glory days were behind it, lost with the dot-com bubble and a little song called "Mambo No. 5."…

Read More

T-Mobile, FCC Reach 10-Figure Settlement Agreement

By: Steve Anderson    10/21/2016

It's a shot in the chops for T-Mobile, as the company recently agreed to a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the matter…

Read More

DDoS Attack Causes Several Site Outages

By: Alicia Young    10/21/2016

This morning, as thousands of people woke up and started their daily routines, they found that it had been disrupted. Those who like to lie in bed scr…

Read More