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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Facebook and its databases

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California with close to one a billion of active users(Facebook Annual Report, 2017). Users are expressing themselves and interacting with their peer and friends through wall posts, uploading their photos, passing information’s about events and other meaningful information and for that reason Facebook needs a large scalable database.
Facebook Databases 
Facebook uses multiple databases to ensure that it website is up and running smoothly in spite of handling close to billion active users (Facebook Anaual Report, 2017). Facebook primarily uses MySQL for structured data storage such as wall posts, user information, timeline etc. (Madison, Barnhill, Napier & Godin, 2015).  This data is replicated between their various data centers. It is also important to note that Facebook makes heavy use of Memcached, a memory caching system that is used to speed up dynamic database driven websites by caching data and objects in RAM to reduce reading time (Madison, Barnhill, Napier & Godin, 2015). Memcached is Facebook’s primary form of caching and greatly reduces the database load. Having a caching system allows Facebook to be as fast as it is at recalling the user’s data.
Database Technologies and its Benefits
Haystack-the photos application is one of Facebook’s most popular features (Goel et al, 2014). Up to date, users have uploaded over 15 billion photos which make Facebook the biggest photo sharing website; for each uploaded photo, Facebook generates and stores four images of different sizes, which translates to a total of 60 billion images and 1.5PB of storage (Goel et al, 2014). The current growth rate is 220 million new photos per week, which translates to 25TB of additional storage consumed weekly (Borthakur, 2013). Overall, users of Facebook have enjoyed many benefits from using this technology as they are able to effectively communicate with their friends and family member, make video calling, share of memories and photos, and communicate with others who share same interest or hoppy. All these benefits are free to all Facebook users. 
Downsides of Databases and Facebook Technology
On other hand, having to deal with multiple databases has created several downsides to Facebook Company and some downsides existed from using this technology affecting primarily the user. Multiple databases have created complexity requiring experienced designers and significant financial resources to overcome this complexity (Facebook Annual Report, 2017). Also, Databases require significant upfront and ongoing financial resources to continuously develop or customize the database management systems (Borthakur, 2013). On the users’ side, “Facebook addiction” is a new disorder in which addicted users spent many hours using Facebook keeping them away from socializing with real people and eventually creating the problems with the real-life relationships, relatives, school, or in the career (Goel et al, 2014). Another downside of Facebook is Data privacy issues in which some apps can have accessed to personal information and share them with third party as users don’t use privacy and security settings properly. 
Considering other Technologies
I believe that is the big concern Facebook facing is the privacy issues of its customers; therefore, Facebook needs to develop technologies that fully protected and safeguard personal information of its users. Facebook could use simple technologies to increase awareness of its security and privacy setting in order to mitigate these risks. It could also implement technologies that track fake accounts and suspicious links and prevent them from posting on its pages (Borthakur, 2013). These technologies would increase the reliability and the security of Facebook. 
Utilization of Database Technologies for Managers
As a manager, database technologies would be utilized to support me in making decisions that would improve the effectiveness of my management. For an example, I could utilize customer relationship management (CRM) database to improve my customer experience and increase their satisfaction (Chaudhuri, Dayal & Ganti, 2001).  Moreover, I can utilize database technologies alongside with electronic data interchange and barcode scanning to track my inventory and minimize lost sales while maximizing my opportunities for growth (Chaudhuri, Dayal & Ganti, 2001). 

Borthakur, D. (2013). Petabyte scale databases and storage systems at facebook. Paper presented at the 1267-1268. doi:10.1145/2463676.2463713
Chaudhuri, S., Dayal, U., & Ganti, V. (2001). Database technology for decision support systems. Computer, 34(12), 48-55. doi:10.1109/2.970575
Goel, A., Chopra, B., Gerea, C., Mátáni, D., Metzler, J., Ul Haq, F., & Wiener, J. (2014). Fast database restarts at facebook. Paper presented at the 541-549. doi:10.1145/2588555.2595642
Facebook Annual Report (2017). ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. Retrived from
Madison, M., Barnhill, M., Napier, C., & Godin, J. (2015). NoSQL database technologies. Journal of International Technology and Information Management, 24(1), 1.

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