If you think people are over-sharing on the Internet today, brace yourself. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, we haven’t seen anything yet. As the sharing booms, so will the online data. In order to make sense of that data, one would need a lot more computational power. And Facebook plans to build more of its own data centers to deal with the coming data boom.
The amount of data people share on Facebook has grown at an exponential rate since the site began in 2004, Zuckerberg said during a press event at Facebook headquarters Wednesday morning. According to him, the amount of stuff any given Facebook user shares today is about twice the amount of stuff they shared on this date a year ago. A year from today, they will be sharing twice as much as they are now. And so on.
“That kind of exponential growth is really profound,” Zuckerberg said. Indeed: Einstein supposedly called the exponential function of compounding interest “the most powerful force in the universe.” As time goes on, things that grow exponentially really add up — and Facebook is no exception.
And Facebook plans to build more bespoke data centers to keep up with that data growth. “We’re definitely on this trend now where it makes sense for us given the scale of usage and the information flowing through the network where we’re probably going to be building our own data centers, rather than leasing,” Zuckerberg said. He didn’t disclose any more details on Facebook’s data center plans.
It’s worth mentioning that Facebook’s technical operations VP Jonthan Heliger, who was the driving force behind opening the Facebook’s first custom data center in April 2011, is set to leave the company by summer’s end. Taking his place will be Jay Parikh, who has been an engineering director with Facebook since 2009. Judging from the kind of data growth Zuckerberg is projecting, Parikh and the rest of Facebook’s infrastructure team is in for a busy few years — and beyond.