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June 27, 2014

Facebook ditches Amazon Web Services for Instagram photos

AWS loses valuable customer as Facebook plans fourth data centre in Iowa.

By Ben Sullivan

Instagram’s image database has been migrated from Amazon Web Services to Facebook’s own infrastructure.

The news came out of an interview with Facebook infrastructure engineer Charlie Manese, conducted by Infrx, an Australian hyperscale compute appliance startup.

Manese said: "We’ve had some interesting news about Instagram just recently. When we purchased Instagram there were about 20 people there. It was a typical startup, with a services man on Amazon services, just like startups do.

"We have recently moved their services onto the Facebook infrastructure, and we use about a third less servers to service their infrastructure than we did before. Obviously reducing the cost from when we had it on the Amazon platform."

Facebook has about 1.28 billion users, with 802 million daily users. There 350 million photos uploaded a day, with over 400 billion photos uploaded and shared so far.

Instagram’s footprint is much smaller, with 45 million photos uploaded daily, and 16 billion photos shared altogether.

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"We service 6 billion likes a day. That’s a real time transaction that’s happening every day around the world. We have 200 billion+ friend connections. And if you think about that, when we build your newsfeed we take all your friend connections and do a join across all the profiles around the world and present a feed to you. We do this every day all day long."

"When you start talking about 400 billion photos uploaded and shared and stored forever, that’s a big data requirement. A lot of smaller companies are going to start on a managed service, but there’s a tipping point where it makes sense to move on to your infrastructure and we’ve been able to show and do that."

Manese also reveled that Facebook is about to open a data centre in Iowa, United States. This adds a fourth data centre to Facebook’s armoury, along with one in Sweden and two others in the US.

Photo credit: PiXXart /

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