Tag Archives: Instagram

Early Instagram

Medium: “9am: Kevin and I panic as our tiny server crumbles under the weight of our first-day traffic.”

In this day of large scale systems it’s hard to believe Instagram launched with a single server, which promptly melted down under the strain.

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Instagram launched its mobile photo sharing service for iPhone. In six hours, the back-end operation, which was running off a single machine in Los Angeles, was completely overwhelmed.

That’s from a 2011 Mashable article. I’d love to know how many boxes Instagram runs off of today. This stuff fascinates me.

Facebook to buy Dropbox

That’s right, I’m calling it. Facebook will acquire Dropbox in the very near future. How do I know this? History is on my side.

Designer Tim Van Damme has a unique superpower. His companies are acquired by Facebook. He was with Gowalla when they were acquired by Facebook, so he left for Instagram. Not long after Van Damme arrived at Instagram, that’s right, you guessed it, they were acquired by Facebook.

The first thing I thought yesterday when I read Mr. Van Damme was leaving Instagram for Dropbox? “I wonder when Facebook will acquire them?”

Has anyone set the line?

Instagram, Still Lean

Instagram Blog: “We’ve been able to do this with an incredibly small team — today just 35 people — who live and breathe Instagram, and we’re looking for folks who are just as passionate to join us.”

Instagram has come a long way since they flipped the switch on their little photo sharing service in October 2010.

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Instagram launched its mobile photo sharing service for iPhone. In six hours, the back-end operation, which was running off a single machine in Los Angeles, was completely overwhelmed. – Mashable

Instagram Stack

Instagram LogoInstagram Engineering: “We thought it would be fun to give a sense of all the systems that power Instagram, at a high-level; you can look forward to more in-depth descriptions of some of these systems in the future. This is how our system has evolved in the just-over-1-year that we’ve been live, and while there are parts we’re always re-working, this is a glimpse of how a startup with a small engineering team can scale to our 14 million+ users in a little over a year.”

Go read this post, if you haven’t already. It’s amazing how much the company has changed in just a little over a year.

I wonder how long it’s going to take to transition all this content to Facebook servers? Will they even attempt to do it? The integration of the systems will be fun to watch. From a DevOps perspective it’ll be a great challenge. Hopefully Facebook will leave most of the stack alone and move the parts that can be moved fairly easily. I figure the actual storage of photos is one area that could come over fairly easily. Facebook has some caching mechanisms that could work right away, but all-in-all I think I’d leave most of the Instagram infrastructure in place. Why? Because it’s working.

Their new infrastructure sure beats where they were on October 6, 2010.

“On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Instagram launched its mobile photo sharing service for iPhone. In six hours, the back-end operation, which was running off a single machine in Los Angeles, was completely overwhelmed.”

That’s right, all of Instagram was hosted on one computer. Amazing.

Instagram, Scaling for Success

InstagramMashable: “Day two for Instagram was an exciting one. Krieger called his dedicated server representative to inquire about getting a new machine — he was quoted a two day turnaround. Instagram, already fast-approaching 40,000 users, would need something much sooner to meet the weekend demand. “We needed to be on a platform where we could adjust in minutes, not days,” says Krieger.”

Amazon EC2 to the rescue! I hear story after story like this. With Amazon EC2, Rackspace, and Microsoft Azure I’m not sure why you’d want to deal with hosting your own mess. Let them do it for you.