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Inside MySpace: The Story

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2007-01-16 Print this article Print

Booming traffic demands put a constant stress on the social network's computing infrastructure. Here's how it copes.

title=Fifth Milestone: 26 Million Accounts}  Fifth Milestone: 26 Million Accounts

In mid-2005, when the service reached 26 million accounts, MySpace switched to SQL Server 2005 while the new edition of Microsoft's database software was still in beta testing. Why the hurry? The main reason was this was the first release of SQL Server to fully exploit the newer 64-bit processors, which among other things significantly expand the amount of memory that can be accessed at one time. "It wasn't the features, although the features are great," Benedetto says. "It was that we were so bottlenecked by memory."

More memory translates into faster performance and higher capacity, which MySpace sorely needed. But as long as it was running a 32-bit version of SQL Server, each server could only take advantage of about 4 gigabytes of memory at a time. In the plumbing of a computer system, the difference between 64 bits and 32 bits is like widening the diameter of the pipe that allows information to flow in and out of memory. The effect is an exponential increase in memory access. With the upgrade to SQL Server 2005 and the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, MySpace could exploit 32 gigabytes of memory per server, and in 2006 it doubled its standard configuration to 64 gigabytes.

David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.
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