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Facebook is going to be putting its already immense infrastructure through a stress test like nothing before, according to Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. Introduced Thursday, Timeline is essentially a new view into your news feed that takes multiple data inputs — from your status updates to the names of the songs you listen to on Spotify — and turns them into a daily journal through a combination of data crunching and new design elements.
The automatic sharing that is part of the new Facebook (2011 edition) means that folks are going to share a lot of data with the company. “There will be little bits of data, just a lot of it,” joked Schroepfer. He pointed out that the company has simulated some scenarios and prepared its storage systems to handle more data. “But we don’t know the impact of our new product.”
Given that the company already gets about 250 million photos uploaded every day, Schroepfer isn’t too worried about the storage needs of the company. What he is concerned about is how much time it takes to access the exponentially large amount of data sets and then scroll through it. Facebook is making seven years worth of data available as part of its Timeline launch — a gigantic amount of information that it is not revealing — for now.
A lot of the upgrades have come through software improvements and using elements of its MultiFeed software. The company has also boosted its general purpose infrastructure that handles functions such as caching and the home page to handle the pressures placed by Timeline.