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Facebook Estimated to Be Running 180,900 Servers

By - Source: James Hamilton | B 21 comments

How many servers does it take to run Facebook? A new estimate puts the company's server base at roughly 180,000 units.

There is no information on the exact count, but some use Facebook's disclosed power consumption of its data centers for a guideline. According to the company, it consumes about 509 million kilowatt hours annually, while the data center power usage is estimated to be about 58 megawatts. Combined with Facebook’s published Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.07, the company conclusively sends 54.27 megawatts to its servers. At 300 watts per server, that would mean about 180,900 servers, according to James Hamilton. If Facebook can achieve the generally assumed 250 watt estimate for Google, the company may run as many as 217,080 servers.

The growth in server numbers is stunning. Hamilton said that the company may have run just 30,000 servers in October 2009, and 60,000 in June of 2010. He also reminded us that Google's datacenters consume a total of 260 megawatts. With a PUE of 1.14, the company provides 228 megawatts to their servers, which would translate to about 1,040,000 servers at the estimated average power consumption of 250 watts per server.

 

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    Tab54o , August 17, 2012 8:14 PM
    and 180,899 are dedicated to farmville
  • 13 Hide
    Antimatter79 , August 17, 2012 8:33 PM
    In 5 years, the picture above will be updated to show one lonely server on a rack in Zuckerberg's basement.
  • 13 Hide
    snowzsan , August 17, 2012 8:13 PM
    LOL well they probably wouldn't need so many if people reviewed their pictures before uploading them to facebook for relevancy/quality/content. Instead you see one user has about 300 albums listed "~!~-~-SUMMER 2010!! -~-~!~" with 300 pictures in it where only 30 are of any importance or even visually descriptive.

    Honestly, it's a mess.
Other Comments
    Display all 21 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2012 8:09 PM
    they need store users images/albums somewhere...
  • 13 Hide
    snowzsan , August 17, 2012 8:13 PM
    LOL well they probably wouldn't need so many if people reviewed their pictures before uploading them to facebook for relevancy/quality/content. Instead you see one user has about 300 albums listed "~!~-~-SUMMER 2010!! -~-~!~" with 300 pictures in it where only 30 are of any importance or even visually descriptive.

    Honestly, it's a mess.
  • 19 Hide
    Tab54o , August 17, 2012 8:14 PM
    and 180,899 are dedicated to farmville
  • 4 Hide
    tupz , August 17, 2012 8:27 PM
    Facebook, in its IPO filing, said it stores over 100 petabytes (PB) of media (photos and videos). It’s not unrealistic to say that Facebook probably has a total storage of capacity well beyond that, once you factor in backups and other data (status updates, likes, and so on), possibly in the 300PB range.

    Nuts! -- via
  • 13 Hide
    Antimatter79 , August 17, 2012 8:33 PM
    In 5 years, the picture above will be updated to show one lonely server on a rack in Zuckerberg's basement.
  • 3 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , August 17, 2012 8:37 PM
    so, where is the "green part" while using Facebook and Google, huh?????? :p 
  • 9 Hide
    psikaikai , August 17, 2012 9:03 PM
    180,900 servers full of shit
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2012 9:13 PM
    seriously, what a waste of electric power
  • -1 Hide
    whimseh , August 17, 2012 9:14 PM
    Whaa?? It's 2012, we should only have to use 1 server for this.
  • 7 Hide
    cookoy , August 17, 2012 10:45 PM
    and how many would tom's hw have?
  • -3 Hide
    therabiddeer , August 17, 2012 10:50 PM
    I highly doubt 180,900 is an accurate number. I cant really say anything about specifics, but if that were the case then they hugely over-invested into servers or about 179,000 of those are cheap servers. Also, none of the ones that I was involved in used a 300w PSU, but those were storage servers.
  • 7 Hide
    leongrado , August 17, 2012 11:00 PM
    I wouldn't be surprised if some of my friends could fill a whole server with all the crap they're posting on Facebook.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 18, 2012 2:53 AM
    snowzsanLOL well they probably wouldn't need so many if people reviewed their pictures before uploading them to facebook for relevancy/quality/content. Instead you see one user has about 300 albums listed "~!~-~-SUMMER 2010!! -~-~!~" with 300 pictures in it where only 30 are of any importance or even visually descriptive.Honestly, it's a mess.


    One person I know has like 700 pictures in total...
  • 1 Hide
    shin0bi272 , August 18, 2012 4:54 AM
    Who knew people whining about what they did today and hooking up with old flames and making duckface pictures took that many servers to operate on... but I guess 900 million users take up some space. With facebook's ipo an utter disaster and their current price under 20 bucks (initial offering at 38) one has to wonder how long they will stay public or in business. I mean lets be honest here... their business is selling your information that you post on there... and they made BILLIONS doing it. Yet people just keep queuing up to play zynga games and pay real money for phantom pigs and then we wonder why Americans are so lazy.
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , August 18, 2012 9:28 AM
    In my opinion, the servers are gold mine in terms of personal information.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 18, 2012 1:01 PM
    john_4The FEDS know this too and why do you think in your face Facebook is being pushed on us so hard.


    And don't forget the Homeland Security, and the CIA. There's been some speculation that the CIA had a role in funding Facebook.
  • 1 Hide
    TheKurrgan , August 18, 2012 3:16 PM
    wow.. ok well the number provided includes QUITE a few things other than servers.
    Lets break it down..
    Cooling. At least 33% of that quoted data center figure is probably cooling.
    Switching is at least 3%
    So there goes 36% of the power, if directly translated from the server count of 180,900, it leaves us with
    121,203. Fairly significant reduction. And some of that has to be storage only devices, which SHOULD account for a lions share of the power consumption. However, this would depend greatly on the methodology used in creating the data center, as there are many ways to do it that would require more or less storage only devices. If, for some reason -- They decided to take the approach of purely distributed, most redundant, most expensive solution and use no SAN, and rely on direct attached storage per server, minimizing the loss of data per failure point (which is likely mirrored at this point), given the amount of users, and the, in the words of Chef from south park "Ridiculous load of pig crap", each user brings with them, I could easily see the total server count for FB being 121K using the methodology described above. If they use any SAN, it should be significantly reduced.
  • 1 Hide
    willard , August 18, 2012 4:30 PM
    cookoyand how many would tom's hw have?

    Guessing wildly here, but I'll take a stab at it. Text heavy articles aren't going to require multiple servers to store. I'm guessing tom's gets a fairly large amount of traffic, so we're going to need to load balance things, which is going to require a few redundant servers and some extra ones to do the balancing. Finally, you're going to want to put servers in the country they're serving to improve response times.

    So, by SWAG, I'd say 4-6 servers per localization (probably several more on the US and UK sites, fewer on smaller ones like Turkey), or a few dozen total.
  • -1 Hide
    STravis , August 18, 2012 5:34 PM
    shin0bi272 pay real money for phantom pigs and then we wonder why Americans are so lazy.


    Did you mean lazy or stupid?
  • 2 Hide
    razor512 , August 18, 2012 7:07 PM
    the problem with services like facebook, they will eventually fail when they stop growing. their business model requires unlimited growth or it fails because the current user base is constantly adding content which makes hosting more expensive. Once they reach a point where they stop growing or start shrinking then they will go down hill insanely fast.
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