Hey Facebookies, since how long have you been Facebooking? Well to be precise, Facebook has been there for you since eight years but have you ever wondered how Facebook works? What’s behind that fancy curtain? OK! Its not a ‘How-To guide’ to use Facebook but we are talking about its architecture.
Have you ever been curious about whats lying behind Facebook? And how Facebook really works? Then lets talk some tech now.
How Facebook Works In Spotlight?
Facebook utilize lots of services and programming languages to work. To be precise, Facebook servers use LAMP with Memcache. Hey, we are not talking about the table lamps! Basically LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Its understood that you need more explanation on those complex terms if you are not a techie.
Linux & Apache
If you are fortunate enough to see that black dolphin logo ever on WWW then you certainly know Linux. Well, its an open-source UNIX-like kernel for ‘Operating Systems’ and why Facebook use Linux is because of its high security and its ease of customization according to needs. Apache is considered as the best and most popular HTTP server – No wonder why Facebook use Apache.
Ok! so far we know that Facebook works using Linux OS and Apache servers. What about the database where huge amounts of data, including the Facebookies personal data, is stored? This is where MySQL makes entry because its reliable and speedy as well.
MySQL basically stores key values since data is stored randomly among huge number of logical instances.
PHP is basically a great WWW programming language – a scripting language. Facebook use this language specifically because this language has a good programmers community and this language also has a great support as well.
We are done with LAMP but what about Memcache? Any guess?Basically Memcache is an open-source system for caching memory. All it do is make dynamic sites like Facebook work faster by allowing them to cache data in RAM instead of going all the way to database.
Problems With ‘LAMP’ System
Facebook has come across many problems due to this LAMP system – may be Facebook has grown just amazingly fast for think-tanks. Among many problems, major problem is that PHP is difficult to configure for big websites – it may not be optimised for big websites. Moreover it’s not the fastest executing-language out there.
Since dynamic growth of Facebook, it is facing many problems like memory caching, data storage and most importantly it’s database is very complex. And to cover-up that backstage with another curtain, Facebook has started some back-end and open-source projects.
How Facebook Works Behind Curtains?
How Facebook works behind curtain is pretty simple – they create any program or service when they need it and create a framework to make creation of services hassle-free.. Facebook back stage services are mostly written in languages like Java, Python, Erlang and C++.
A list of all open-source projects can be found here (http://developers.facebook.com/opensource.php). Moreover, here are some of important open-source projects:
Cassandra is a storage system designed to manage huge amounts of data without a single point of failure. ‘Facebook inbox search’ works using Cassandra as well.
Thrift gives the framework for development in cross-language services. Many languages like Java, Ruby, PHP, C++ and python are supported by thrift.
HipHop For PHP
Basic use of this framework was to transform PHP to highly optimized C++, in result this framework caused large performance gain for Facebook servers.
Well, all this yap basically answers ‘how Facebook works?’. Hey! this info certainly doesn’t make you, neither me, a geek at all. This was just a simple answer to ‘How Facebook Works’, Had it been from a geek then this article could be of 100 page length.
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