By Ben Hollom

Facebook is planning to develop a new data centre where old photos could be stored when users are not interested in them anymore, sources from the social media company were quoted as saying by the Oregonian.

Data revealed in January showed that there were 240 billion photographs shared on Facebook. However, it also emerged that about 82% of Facebook´s traffic is actually focused on just 8% of those photos. In other words, while Facebook is storing an enormous number of images, users actually need just a tiny number of them.

According to the Oregonian, Facebook has decided to experiment with something new; the social media giant is believed to be constructing a three exabyte (3,000 petabytes) cold storage data facility in Prineville, Oregon. It has been estimated that this would allow Facebook to store archived images, using 66% less energy than traditional servers require. The facility will have three separate data halls, with each one able to store one exabyte of data; the first one of which is scheduled to open in the autumn.

However, the catch is that once a user tries to access these images, they will not be readily available and access would not be as quick as for newly posted photos. The delay will only be a matter of seconds, but experts believe that with one billion users, this lag could add up and lead to a more significant slow-down. Apparently, Facebook will have to look for the best compromise between cost and service.

Ben Hollom

February 25, 2013