Google+, Orkut and a Facebook Fate Worse than Death

I had my first taste of Google Plus on the weekend and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. The interface was clean and light while still giving me quick access to components that I want wanted. I have only used it for a few days so the quality of the streamlined interface will only be fully realized when it is in full use and populated by several hundred or so friends and associates.

I liked the ability to post separately to specific social circles like Work, Family, or Friends or to post to Your Circle, Extended Circles or Public. For Facebook users, there is enough similarity in the layout to facilitate moving over to the Google+ interface easily.

Google’s other social networking site, Orkut, will continue to operate alongside Google+ but it is uncertain whether or not the two mediums will be fused. Orkut has been around for about four years and has tens of millions of users in South America and India and currently ranks at 102 on Alexa’s list of most popular websites in the world.

Regardless, Google seems to be playing a cautious "wait and see" attitude in terms of integrating the two. While Facebook has certainly been the dominant force in the social networking world for many years many users have strong concerns over their privacy controls. Google feels they will take a substantial portion of the market away from Facebook on that basis alone with a social networking site whose privacy features are tighter and easier to configure.

In a possibly related story, Facebook may on the brink of a crisis and trapped in a MySQL “Fate Worse than Death.” The entire social platform is operating a huge, complex MySQL implementation that stands to cripple the social giant. According to Micahel Stonebraker the only possibility is to rewrite everything from scratch.

In Stonebraker’s opinion, "old SQL (as he calls it) is good for nothing" and needs to be "sent to the home for retired software." After all, he explained, SQL was created decades ago before the web, mobile devices and sensors forever changed how and how often databases are accessed.

The widely accepted issue with MySQL is that by virtue of its design, it was never intended to process the colossal amounts of transactions required for huge webscale applications and the huge amounts of calls that are required. The biggest problem with MySQL and other SQL databases is that they consume too many resources for overhead tasks.

Facebook has split its SQL database into 4000 shards in order to handle the massive amount of data and is currently running 9000 instances of memcache in order to keep up to the massive number of calls that the database must serve. In 2008, they were employing over 1800 server dedicated to MySQL and over 800 dedicated to memcache.

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