Tao: facebook’s distributed data store for the social graph

Ever noticed that certain things on a Facebook page load faster than others? This is often the case with even the simplest of websites, but with a site the kích cỡ of Facebook's globe-spanning social network, the divide is in some ways pronounced. You see, Facebook serves information from two very different collections of data.

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Ever noticed that certain things on a Facebook page load faster than others? This is often the case with even the simplest of websites, but with a site the form size of Facebook's globe-spanning social network, the divide is in some ways more pronounced. Facebook, you see, serves information from two very different collections of data.

Most data is stored inside a good old fashioned database -- the open source mainstay MySQL -- but the social networking giant also uses a second system lớn house data that's accessed with particular frequency. This system is known as Memcached, & it's a comtháng thing inside the massive sầu data centers that underpin the world's largest websites. Memcached stores data in the memory subsystems of the servers that drive sầu Facebook, rather than slower hard disks. Facebook engineers Hotline it "hot data." Basically, this means that the data you're more likely khổng lồ visit is more likely to load at tốc độ.

The rub is that juggling both MySQL và Memcached isn't the easiest of tasks for the engineers that build và operate the Facebook machine. But in recent years, the company has built a new system that seeks lớn ease the use of these two data stores. It's called TAO, short for "The Associations & Objects," and it's been used on the site for "several" years now.

"It was important khổng lồ build something that would help Facebook engineers move sầu fast," says Facebook software engineer Mark Marchukov. "Before, engineers had to lớn underst& the details of how both the cađậy and the MySquốc lộ data stores operated in order to lớn write efficient code, and that slowed down the rate of development. With TAO, we put in an API that they could use without thinking about the details."


But TAO is more than just a new interface for Memcached và MySQL. According lớn Marchokov, the company also rebuilt the software that sits behind the API. "We wanted khổng lồ build something that could vị better than a hybrid system consisting of just Memcached and MySquốc lộ," he says. In short, the system is specifically designed for the types of data structures used by Facebook -- data structures that define what Facebook calls "the social graph," the endless tangle of relationships aý muốn people và information on the site.

"We wondered what an infrastructure built by Facebook for Facebook would look like," says Facebook director of engineering Venkat Venkataramani.

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The system -- which Facebook discussed for the first time this week -- is yet another example of the company building entirely new software to streamline và accelerate its ever-growing online empire. Like Google and Amazon & even Microsoft và Twitter, Facebook has reached such an enormous kích thước, it can no longer rely on software originally designed for much simpler sites.

Vert often, Facebook will "open source" its new software creations, sharing them with the world at large. But the company has yet to lớn share the code behind TAO. Venkataramani says the company is still considering whether it will vị so. Though TAO helps drive sầu the live sầu Facebook site, he says, it is still under development.


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Cade Metz is a former ruby-forum.org senior staff writer covering Google, Facebook, artificial intelligence, bitcoin, data centers, computer chips, programming languages, và other ways the world is changing.

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