Facebook (24m users)

Marc’s new blog is worth a read – this is one I mentioned today – with a list of the his top posts so far on his new blog site – plenty on dealing with capital and growth topics (Marc Andreessen – Netscape, (Loudcloud -became OPSware), Ning)

http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/analyzing_the_f.html

This is happening in an environment with 24 million active users — active users defined as users active on the site in the last 30 days. 50% of active users return to the site daily. 100,000 new users join per day. 45 billion page views per month and growing. 50 million users, and a lot more page views, predicted by the end of 2007.

An application that takes off on Facebook is very quickly adopted by hundreds of thousands, and then millions — in days! — and then ultimately tens of millions of users.

Unless you’re already operating your own systems at Facebook levels of scale, your servers will promptly explode from all the traffic and you will shortly be sending out an email like this

In our first 20 hours of opening doors we had 50,000 users sign up, and it is only accelerating. (10,000 users joined in the first 12 hrs. 10,000 more users in the next 3 hrs. 30,000 more users in the next 5 hrs!!)

Yesterday, about two weeks later, ILike announced that they have passed 3 million users on Facebook and are still growing — at a rate of 300,000 users per day.

They didn’t say how many servers they’re running, but if you do the math, it has to be in the hundreds and heading into the thousands.

Translation: unless you already have, or are prepared to quickly procure, a 100-500+ server infrastructure and everything associated with it — networking gear, storage gear, ISP interconnetions, monitoring systems, firewalls, load balancers, provisioning systems, etc. — and a killer operations team, launching a successful Facebook application may well be a self-defeating proposition

This is a “success kills” scenario — the good news is you’re successful, the bad news is you’re flat on your back from what amounts to a self-inflicted denial of service attack, unless you have the money and time and knowledge to tackle the resulting scale challenges.

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