The ‘Instagration’: How 20B+ Instagram Photos Were Moved To Facebook’s Servers

By David Cohen 

MovingPictures650How did Facebook move more than 20 billion photos from Instagram from Amazon EC2 cloud storage to its data center in Forest City, N.C.? Very carefully, Instagram Co-Founder Mike Krieger told Wired.

The “Instagration,” as the project was called internally at Facebook, involved moving those 20 billion-plus digital photos from Amazon EC2 cloud storage, to Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud, and then to Facebook’s servers in Forest City, through a networking tool the social network built for the process, called Neti, without any interruption in service, Wired reported.

According to Wired, the Instagration took about one year, and it was handled by a team that started out with eight engineers and eventually expanded to 20, with the data-migration portion of the process taking about one month.

Krieger told Wired:

The users are still in the same car they were in at the beginning of the journey, but we’ve swapped out every single part without them noticing. We were patient zero.

One of the things we had to do was really silo the information, which ends up being important for privacy and other reasons.

And Facebook Engineer George Cabrera told Wired:

The service couldn’t take any disruption.

For much more on the Instagration, please see the post on Wired, as well as this post from the Instagram engineering blog.

Readers: Are you surprised that Facebook and Instagram were able to pull off the Instagration without a service hiccup?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.