When Facebook started work on its new data centre in Forest City, North Carolina, the idea was to create pretty much an exact copy of the new-age facility the company had just built in the high desert of central Oregon. But about two months into the project, Jay Parikh, the man who oversees Facebook’s entire data centre infrastructure, and company decided this was a poor idea — not because the Oregon facility was deficient in any way, but because Facebook’s network traffic had changed in a big way.
What Facebook noticed was a significant jump in the traffic generated by its internal services — software systems that generate things like friend recommendations and realtime notifications. These services work in tandem to build each new Facebook page, and the bits traveling between these services was growing exponentially faster than the traffic to and from the internet. So, in building the North Carolina facility, Parikh and his team overhauled the entire network to accommodate this trend. And just for good measure, they revamped the servers as well.