Facebook To Use Cold Storage At Prineville Data Center For Old Photos

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook uses so many resources just to save the 240 billion-plus photos that are on the social network. Now the company is utilizing cold storage at its Prineville, Ore., data center to make sure older photos can be as easily accessed as the ones users uploaded five minutes ago.

At the Open Compute Summit last month in Santa Clara, Calif., Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering Jay Parikh detailed the efforts that the site takes to store photos. As users upload more than 350 million photos each day, Facebook has to get creative to make sure that pictures from four years ago load just as quickly as ones that were just posted today.

To do this, Facebook has turned to cold storage, essentially using innovating storage techniques in chilled rooms to make the servers run more efficiently. Facebook uses cold storage primarily for older photos that aren’t accessed as often, but still need to be available.

According to The Oregonian, 82 percent of Facebook’s traffic is focused on just 8 percent of photos.

The cold storage building should be operational by the fall. The Oregonian writes that each of the three 16,000-square-foot data hubs could hold 1 exabyte of date, or roughly 1 million hard drives inside a contemporary computer.

Michael Kirkland, a Facebook communications manager, spoke with The Oregonian about photo storage:

The principle will be so that it doesn’t impact the user experience – so think about a matter of seconds, or milliseconds.

Readers: How many photos have you uploaded to Facebook?