Inside MySpace: The StoryBy David F. Carr | Posted 2007-01-16 Email Print
Booming traffic demands put a constant stress on the social network's computing infrastructure. Here's how it copes.title= Second Milestone: 1-2 Million Accounts}
Second Milestone: 1-2 Million Accounts
As MySpace registration passed 1 million accounts and was closing in on 2 million, the service began knocking up against the input/output (I/O) capacity of the database servers—the speed at which they were capable of reading and writing data. This was still just a few months into the life of the service, in mid-2004. As MySpace user postings backed up, like a thousand groupies trying to squeeze into a nightclub with room for only a few hundred, the Web site began suffering from "major inconsistencies," Benedetto says, meaning that parts of the Web site were forever slightly out of date.
"A comment that someone had posted wouldn't show up for 5 minutes, so users were always complaining that the site was broken," he adds.
The next database architecture was built around the concept of vertical partitioning, with separate databases for parts of the Web site that served different functions such as the log-in screen, user profiles and blogs. Again, the Web site's scalability problems seemed to have been solved—for a while.
The vertical partitioning scheme helped divide up the workload for database reads and writes alike, and when users demanded a new feature, MySpace would put a new database online to support it. At 2 million accounts, MySpace also switched from using storage devices directly attached to its database servers to a storage area network (SAN), in which a pool of disk storage devices are tied together by a high-speed, specialized network, and the databases connect to the SAN. The change to a SAN boosted performance, uptime and reliability, Benedetto says.