Facebook Uses BitTorrent to Upgrade Servers

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Facebook Uses BitTorrent to Upgrade Servers

Facebook has thousands of servers to maintain and upgrade scattered across many locations. Imagine you're the IT staff responsible for updating all those servers in a timely manner across the Internet so they're all running the same code. Some of these upgrades are hundreds of megabytes.

Fortunately, BitTorrent is great at distributing large files very fast via its P2P technology. Facebook's Tom Cook (systems engineering group) spoke at the Velocity Conference with a speech titled 'A Day in the Life of Facebook Operations' where he explained how BitTorrent made server deployment much faster. Apparently, Twitter uses BitTorrent as well to for server deployment

According to TorrentFreak:

"BitTorrent is fantastic for this, it's really great," Cook said. "It's 'superduper' fast and it allows us to alleviate a lot of scaling concerns we've had in the past, where it took forever to get code to the webservers before you could even boot it up and run it."


With their BitTorrent-powered distribution system Facebook is now able to send a few hundred MB to tens of thousands of machines in just one minute. The internal Facebook swarm turns every server into a peer that helps in distributing the new code, which gets it updated as quickly as possible. Without BitTorrent this process could take several hours to complete.

And you thought BitTorrent was exclusively for music and movie piracy! We all owe BitTorrent a big thanks for keeping Facebook up-to-date.

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