Facebook’s Spooktacular Scaling for Halloween


The growth of the Internet and mobile technology have been good for Halloween. This weekend, many of us will use the cameras in our mobile phones to snap photos of our friends and/or kids in their Halloweeen costumes, and then upload them to Facebook. This trend has made Halloween the Super Bowl for online photo storage, and one of the busiest days of the year for the Facebook web site.

“Our users go all out to capture the zany costumes and freewheeling spirit, typically uploading about 20% more photos than usual during Halloween week,” Facebook engineer Doug Beaver noted last year. “That can include several daily spikes that are more than double normal levels.”

Last year Facebook said it added “20 percent more photo servers and 50 percent more upload servers” to process Halloween traffic, adding up to an additional 40 terabytes (that’s 40,000,000,000,000 bytes) of storage. That was when the site had 140 million users, less than half its current active user base of more than 300 million.

Just for giggles, add live streaming of a Foo Fighters concert via the group’s Facebook page. Looks like there will be plenty of servers humming and lights flashing in Facebook’s data centers this weekend.

Cool Halloween image from Hanna Howarth via Flickr.

Get Daily Email News from DCK!
Subscribe now and get our special report, "The World's Most Unique Data Centers."

Enter your email to receive messages about offerings by Penton, its brands, affiliates and/or third-party partners, consistent with Penton's Privacy Policy.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)


  1. In all fairness, 40TB isn't a ton of storage when push comes to shove. Yes it's a lot for SSDs or RAM, but it's only about 150 300GB SAS drives, counting a little bit of RAID overhead. Put those into larger-scale storage servers and you've got a dozen servers, maybe two, taking up about a rack of space. Huge for a smaller operation, and that was last year, but a drop in the bucket when you have over 30,000 servers already online.

  2. 40TB for a single day, That need to be server ASAP. Not a tons ? Ermmm... dunno where you work, but for the mortal, (even for a (mortal) sysadmin), i think it's a huge workload. Really.

  3. SectorX4

    I think Ian L made it fairly clear that he was referring to the scale that Facebook runs at and not a smaller operation where it would be seen as a lot larger of an investment. To understand the kind of traffic and IO that Facebook pushes I'd recommend to check out Facebook's presentation on 100Gbit Ethernet / Terabit Ethernet. Hopefully this will put 40TB into perspective :)

  4. For those who are interested, here's our coverage of the Facebook presentation at the Ethernet Alliance event, which includes a link to the video.