Like Netflix, Facebook is boosting its edge network

Frank Frankovsky Facebook
Frank Frankovsky, VP, Facebook
(c)2012 Pinar Ozger [email protected]

Updated: Facebook (s fb) is building out its own content delivery network edge network to help speed up the delivery of its photos according to Frank Frankovsky, a VP at the social networking company. Frankovsky outed his plans onstage at the GigaOM Structure 2012 event in San Francisco as part of a conversation about how the network plans to continue scaling out its infrastructure. His announcement comes just a few weeks after Netflix announced it was building its own CDN.

Update: To clarify, Facebook says it is not pushing out its CDN partners, but is placing its own servers inside points of presence owned by ISPs to speed to delivery of its content to users in places around the world.

When asked about why Facebook, which comprises less than 2 percent of web traffic, needed its own CDN accelerated edge network and if the effort was in preparation of new services, Frankovsky pointed out that photos drive enough traffic to convince Facebook to investigate the option. As for new services, he was evasive. In addition to the building, which Facebook is already working with ISPs to build, Frankovsky explained how the Open Compute Project has helped make Facebook’s operations more efficient.

For example he said that the company manages 10,000 servers with one systems administrator inside its data centers, in part thanks to the design considerations it pioneered with Open Compute. He also outlined his plans for deconstructing the server and forcing those components at a greater density and in a more modular configuration into racks. The idea of blowing apart the server, which included him calling for a “subscription model for chips.”

He called for innovation in several areas, including how to operate a data center at maximum capacity by intelligently balancing workloads. Some of his comments will cause consternation among the large server and storage vendors in the industry, and Frankovsky admitted that the relationship with some of them can at times be “strained.” However he also pointed out areas where Facebook is hoping they or someone else will innovate.

However, its clear that Facebook isn’t willing to wait if that innovation doesn’t come fast enough.

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