Trying to upload more than 60 photos from that recent trip you went on? Up until recently it wasn’t possible. While some users were reporting back in January that the limit had been raised up to 175 photos, Facebook had no official announcement then. Earlier today Chris Putnam posted on the Facebook blog that the company was now able to officially raise the album limit up to 200 photos thanks to the new Haystack storage system.
Rather than simply purchasing more servers (which the company has been doing also), the Facebook development team has been more heavily focused on making the existing systems more efficient. Whether that’s using memory more effectively or simply reading from filesystems, Facebook is heavily focused on system optimization. The company is know for their heavy use of Memcached, a “distributed memory object caching system”.
For those non-programmer out there, it’s essentially a system which helps developers avoid their dependancy on MySQL and other database systems. One of the best rules when working with a database is to not rely on the database. That’s where Memcached comes in. As Gary Orenstein wrote on GiagOm earlier this week, Memcached presents a sort of philosophical aspect to the Memcached/MySQL relationship.
Anyways, I’ve gone off on a tangent. The main point is that Facebook has developed an impressive storage system for photos and is now able to provide much more capacity for users. Given that Facebook’s the largest photo storage site on the web, I can assume that many users will be taking advantage of the increased limits. As Chris says in today’s blog post, they hope to begin providing more features over the coming months and years.
This upgrade is also extremely important for keeping people on Facebook. The more photos they store there, the more likely users are to keep coming back. While I haven’t seen any reports published that correlate photo upload usage and level of site activity, I’m willing to bet that the two factors have a strong correlation. Let us know if you’re already seeing the upgrade and have taken advantage of it!