How Cloud Computing Was Instrumental to Facebook’s Growth

Jerry Olasakinju | Gmocloud

There is no doubt that Facebook today has become a typical example of how a small start-up can grow into a household brand. However, only a few people realize that cloud computing played a significant part in Facebook’s rapid growth. It is important to state that cloud technology did not only encourage the expansion of Facebook’s size, it constantly contributes to the social network company’s environmental conservation policies in a number of encouraging ways that are described in this article.

The success story of Facebook is closely related to the enviable development in Data Center services. Previously, the operators of Data Centers were constantly troubled about how to manage their ever increasing amount of servers as the number of their clients ballooned. Then, Data Centers reportedly consumed about 30 billion watts of electricity, which was estimated to be equal to the output of 30 nuclear plants. Sadly enough, only 6 to 12 percent of this amount of energy was actually used in computing activities, the rest of the 90 percent or less were wasted and instead polluted the environment. Running those Data Centers then was considered environmentally unfriendly and unprofitable. But that changed dramatically since the advent of cloud technology.

In 2006, Facebook housed its several servers in a server site that was a rented 40-by-60 place located in California. The company struggled to manage its mere 10 million users then who, perhaps, sent messages, uploaded photo, videos, music files and shared other documents. Facebook faced serious problems as its servers were overwhelmed by the requirements of these users.

Facebook’s groups of computer servers that were meant to process, store and retrieve information produced from members’ accounts almost suffered sudden meltdown as electricity rushed into the computers, overheating the Ethernet and its accessories (sockets etc). According to Jeff Rothschild, Facebook VP of Technology, to arrest this dangerous situation, “We cleaned out all of the Walgreens in the area to blast cool air at the equipment and prevent the Web site from going down.” He urged the employees of the company to rush around and purchase as many fans as possible to achieve this feat.

Now with nearly 500 million users and still counting, Facebook has finally resolved this headache by entirely moving its myriad of operations to the cloud. This move explains why Facebook users have been able to enjoy uninterrupted operations for a long time. This does not only lead to better performance on the part of the company, it also helps create an environmentally friendly working ethic for both Facebook employees and users. Without doubt, the company has been able to grow from this circumstance through the process of saving on energy and innovating to new areas of operation as the varied needs of Facebook users diversify.

Here are some simple questions to reflect on: What could have happened to the image of Facebook as an innovative company if its operations were disrupted for days because of sudden system shutdown? How would the company have gained the reputation of being energy-saving and environmentally friendly enterprise? How could Facebook have saved on the energy wastage that occurred in its operations before and turn that to optimum performance and profitability?

The answer to these questions is as well simple: cloud computing does it all. This indicates that company managers that still show serious reluctance to move their IT requirements to the cloud are doing their business a lot of disservice. This is because they will continue to waste the scarce energy, lose money and fail to innovate!

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