computational power

How Facebook Will Power Graph Search


How Facebook Will Power Graph SearchFacebook’s new Graph Search is an ambitious project, and brings with it the need for some serious computational grunt. Here’s how Facebook is taking on that challenge.

Slashdot has a great in-depth article about Facebook’ solution, called the Disaggregated Rack. Though it may sound like an elaborate torture device, it’s actually a clever solution which will make Facebook’s search system more flexible and efficient. Essentially, Facebook is breaking down its computational power down into separate modules that can be easily switched in and out:

Compute: A server with 2 processors, 8 or 16 DIMM slots, no hard drive, a small flash boot partition, and a “big NIC” with plentiful throughput to enable network booting.

RAM Sled: Facebook wants to replace the leaves and run it on a RAM sled with between 128 GB and 512 GB of memory, and for $500 to $700 per sled. Only a basic CPU would be needed. Total queries would be 450,000 to 1 million key queries per second.

Storage: Facebook’s solution here is based on its Knox storage design (PDF). The I/O demands are low: 3,000 IOPS or so, Taylor said. But Facebook only wants to spend $500 or $700 apiece, excluding the cost of the drives.

Flash Sled: Facebook would like between 500 Gbytes to 8 terabytes of flash, with 600,000 IOPS. Excluding flash costs, Facebook would like the solution to cost around $500 to $700 apiece.

Facebook anticipates that Graph Search will initially use 20 compute servers, 8 flash sleds, 2 RAM sleds and a storage sled; in total, that’ll provide 320 CPU cores, 3 terabytes of RAM, and 30 TB of flash. The beauty of the set-up is that it’ll allow Facebook to easily upgrade in the future: right now, for instance, its RAM-to-flash ratio is 1:10, but it’ll have to climb to 1:5 to meet future targets. In other words, Facebook will be able to wheel in more grunt with minimal fuss—and get on with the job it really cares about. [Slashdot]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 news No Comments

What is BitCoin?


What Is BitCoin?Maybe you’ve heard of BitCoin—it wants to shake the entire global economy. And some people think it might! It’s online money—an alternative to dollars and euros. Well what’s that mean? It’s complicated, but we break it down.

BitCoin is a digital currency…

BitCoin is not real money. It’s an online “currency”—virtual tokens that can be exchanged for goods and services at places that accept it, the same way you’d give someone a dollar for a cookie.

…with mega aspirations…

In their YouTube manifesto, BitCoin’s creators say they’re going to revolutionize global finance the way the web changed publishing. So! Kind of a lofty goal, aiming to be a global currency up there with (or replacing) the dollar. Right now, that’s still the pipiest of pipe dreams.

…that’s exchanged via P2P…

When you write your friend a check, money from your account is withdrawn from your bank, and then transferred to her bank, and then she withdraws it as cash (maybe). With BitCoin, there are no middlemen (other than the users that comprise the network itself). Money goes straight from you to whomever, through the BitCoin P2P system, with no intermediary agency passing along the chips.

…and generated by its users…

This is where it starts to get a little weird! Unlike traditional currency, that’s backed up by something, (be it gold, silver, or a central bank), BitCoins are generated out of thin air. Through a process called “mining,” a little app sits on your computer and slowly—very slowly—creates new BitCoins in exchange for providing the computational power to process transactions. When a new batch of coins is ready, they’re distributed in probabilistic accordance to whomever had the highest computing power in the mining process. The system is rigged so that no more than 21 million BitCoins will ever exist—so the mining process will yield less and less as time goes on, and more people sign up. This makes the whole system a lot sweeter for early adopters.

…to be spent at the few places BitCoin is accepted…

Not many places accept BitCoin at the moment, unlike traditional currency. But! There’s decent incentive for small businesses to use it—it’s free to use, and there aren’t any transaction fees. At the moment you can buy the services of a web designer, indie PC games, homemade jewelry, guns, and, increasingly, illegal drugs. If the internet is the Wild West, BitCoin is its wampum.

…or converted into real money.

Just like you can trade in yen for dollars, you can swap your BitCoins with other users for several “real world” currencies. And right now, the BitCoin is trading very high! As I write this, one BitCoin is worth $7.5. Not too shabby at all.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 19th, 2011 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

Augustine Fou portrait
Send Tips:
Digital Strategy Consulting
Dr. Augustine Fou LinkedIn Bio
Digital Marketing Slideshares
The Grand Unified Theory of Marketing