7 Years of YouTube Scalability Lessons in 30 Minutes
Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:15AM
Todd Hoff in Example, Strategy

If you started out building a dating site and instead ended up  building a video sharing site (YouTube) that handles 4 billion views a day, then it’s just possible you learned something along the way. And indeed, Mike Solomon, one of the original engineers at YouTube, did learn a lot and he has given a talk about it at PyCon: Scalability at YouTube.

This isn’t an architecture driven talk where we are led through a description of how a lot of boxes connect to each other. Mike could give that sort of talk. He has worked on building YouTube’s servlet infrastructure, video indexing feature, video transcoding system, their full text search, a CDN, and much more. But instead, he’s taken a step back, took a long look around at what time has wrought, and shared some deep lessons, obviously hard won from experience.

The key takeaway away of the talk for me was doing a lot with really simple tools. While many teams are moving on to more complex ecosystems, YouTube really does keep it simple. They program primarily in Python, use MySQL as their database, they’ve stuck with Apache, and even new features for such a massive site start as a very simple Python program.

That doesn’t mean YouTube doesn’t do cool stuff, they do, but what makes everything work together is more a philosophy or a way of doing things than technological hocus pocus. What made YouTube into one of the world’s largest websites? Read on and see...

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