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=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.