Early YouTube Engineer Tells All


When we recently heard about the history of YouTube’s growth strategy from CEO Chad Hurley’s point of view, he described it as “hanging onto a rocket.” But an engineer’s take is always going to be a bit less rose-colored and a bit more about the terrifying situations you brained your way out of. So we were particularly interested to tune in to a talk at YouTube’s developer conference Thursday by Cuong Do, an early software engineer who’s now manager of the site’s Core Product Engineering group.

Do’s talk was titled “Behind the scenes: a look into YouTube’s infrastructure,” and he didn’t disappoint, with harrowing tales of outages; gory details about the specific languages, architectures, and tools YouTube users; and a flow-chart level view on the way the site handles uploads and video delivery while undergoing the massive usage it sees on a daily basis.

“One of the key phrases we had in the early days was ‘These are good problems to have,'” Do said. “And after a while we’re like, I’m going to kill the next person who says that.”

YouTube promised it would post video from the talk on its site eventually, but I don’t see it there yet, so check out the version from my handheld camera.

This story was originally posted on our parent site GigaOM.

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