Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has compiled an immense amount of data on its 900 million users, and over the explosive growth of the last eight years, the company has had to build several significant data centers where all of this data is stored, compiled and organized. But like with most online and computerized companies, things can happen – the entire site could go down, the Internet could go down or there could be some corruption or some software or hardware loses its efficacy over time. And with a number of data centers containing data on 900 million users (and counting), what if something happens to some of the data? Can the company address the problem quickly and get the system back online, or is some of the data lost for hours or days on end?
Well, thanks to the work on one Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) engineer, finding the source of a problem can now be easier and quicker than ever before. In a recent blog post, engineer Sean Lynch described his process for coming up with Claspin, the technology that is essentially a “heat map” for all of the data centers and servers that Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) controls. “As Facebook grew both in size and complexity, it became more and more difficult to figure out which piece was broken when something went wrong,” Lynch wrote.
Lynch is part of the cache performance team at Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), which is charged with assessing the overall health of the cache mechanisms and if there is a problem, the team is tasked to determining the source of the problem and fixing it. The heat map technology sets up the entire caching system and servers on a map, where different colors indicate the status of different parts of the network – for example, a green color indicates the system is working well, while perhaps red indicates a problem. And there are colors and all aspects of the system where the performance team can specifically pinpoint the location and type of problem and be able to act quickly and get the social-network site back online faster.
Keeping Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) online and able to produce users and revenue is important to the company and for investors in Facebook stock, including hedge-fund manager Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management LLC.