Friendster Architecture

Friendster is one of the largest social network sites on the web. it emphasizes genuine friendships and the discovery of new people through friends.


Information Sources

  • Friendster - Scaling for 1 Billion Queries per day


  • MySQL
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • Linux
  • Apache

    What's Inside?

  • Dual x86-64 AMD Opterons with 8 GB of RAM
  • Faster disk (SAN)
  • Optimized indexes
  • Traditional 3-tier architecture with hardware load balancer in front of the databases
  • Clusters based on types: ad, app, photo, monitoring, DNS, gallery search DB, profile DB, user infor DB, IM status cache, message DB, testimonial DB, friend DB, graph servers, gallery search, object cache.

    Lessons Learned

  • No persistent database connections.
  • Removed all sorts.
  • Optimized indexes
  • Don’t go after the biggest problems first
  • Optimize without downtime
  • Split load
  • Moved sorting query types into the application and added LIMITS.
  • Reduced ranges
  • Range on primary key
  • Benchmark -> Make Change -> Benchmark -> Make Change (Cycle of Improvement)
  • Stabilize: always have a plan to rollback
  • Work with a team
  • Assess: Define the issues
  • A key design goal for the new system was to move away from maintaining session state toward a stateless architecture that would clean up after each request
  • Rather than buy big, centralized boxes, [our philosophy] was about buying a lot of thin, cheap boxes. If one fails, you roll over to another box.