Last week, in an interview with Charlie Manese, Facebook’s infrastructure engineer, it was revealed that Instagram’s image database has been moved from Amazon Web Services to Facebook’s own internal datacentre. The transition from AWS to Facebook’s infrastructure — which included data on Instagram’s 200 million active users and 20 billion photos — was expected to take “about a year” with a team of eight engineers, according to Wired. However, the process was complete in just one-month with 20 people working on the project. Most surprisingly, the transfer was completed without any disruption to the service.

“We bought Instagram two years ago and it was a pretty typical startup – it had about 20 people working on it and its services ran on Amazon Web Services, like most startups do,” said Charlie Manese, in a YouTube interview with Australian datacentre service provider Infrx.

“We have recently moved Instagram photo services onto the Facebook infrastructure and today we use about one-third less servers to service Instagram photos than we did before and obviously we reduced cost from what it was when it was on the Amazon platform.”

Instagram has nearly 45 million photo updates every day and 20 billion pictures are shared on its platform. To transfer this data into Facebook’s datacentre, Instagram had to first move from Amazon’s EC2 (its cloud computing service) to Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud, “a tool that allowed Mike Krieger, Instagram founder, and his crew create a logical network that reached beyond Amazon into the Facebook data centre.”

The integration of Instagram and Facebook will have significant consequences for the tech giant.  Rather than Instagram’s machines using three services on the Amazon cloud, it now only uses one in Facebook’s datacentre. Moreover, data fetching times have dropped 80 percent, according to Facebook engineer Pedro Canahuati.

Although Facebook claim that data on Instagram users will remain separate from its own customers, Instagram will see huge benefits from the big data infrastructures that are in place at Facebook. The processes and systems that analyse massive amounts of data at Facebook will now be available to the picture sharing service too – potentially helping with advertising efforts, spam filtering, and reducing IT costs.

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