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ICT Solutions; Making Sense of Social Media and Website Crashes

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For the second time in less than six months, the suite of Facebook-owned apps has experienced massive user glitches and crashes. For about 6 hours or more on Wednesday 3rd of July, the Facebook suite of apps (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) were not loading some media content. Both status and feed visuals (pictures and videos) presented difficulties loading. For one of the major ICT giants, if not the biggest as far as social media is concerned, a downtime of even a minute will result in losses worth millions. So, how could Facebook Inc. suffer two major disruptions, over 2 hours each within six months? To understand this, let’s have a look at how ICT Solutions work, the focal point being the Internet.

How It Works 

The internet simply explained, is a connection of various computers agreeing to share information with each other. Now, if you believe cloud storage is all about immaterial storage somewhere up in a radio world, think again. These computers, also called servers, are actual physical computers that serve as host to all the websites and webpages that we visit on the internet daily. For a company the size of Facebook, it is simply inconceivable to run on a commercial server. With over 1.5 billion daily users, they need a badass server base.

When it comes to ICT solutions, the idea of traffic, speed and usability can be narrated using your local highway. If only one user is on a narrow road, the chances are they can go at whatever speed they want without any major glitches. But once more users get on the road, you need a few more lanes and wider roads to ease the traffic otherwise you have a total gridlock.  Now imagine Facebook is a highway with over 1.5 billion commuters daily, with truckloads of information, already being carried permanently on their home pages. Then these people often stop to interact with each other, unload someone else’s baggage and watch some videos on it and then leave some more baggage about their opinions on each person’s baggage. Apparently, the average user likes 10 posts, makes about 4 comments and double that for Ad interactions monthly.  Personally, we think those are conservative numbers. But try to imagine how much traffic these interactions will generate over 2 billion monthly users. And that’s facebook ONLY.

ICT Solutions and Facebook Storage Statistics

WhatsApp has 1.5billion users with 1billion active daily users, 29million messages per minute, and 2billion minutes of calls (video and voice), daily. Instagram, on the other hand, has about 1billion monthly users from around the world. Instagram users are basically dealing with heavy pictures and videos that require even more bandwidth (wider roads). With loads of information being deposited every day and accessed by millions of users across the world, the Facebook company requires millions of servers for storage and easy access to users. This is where ICT solutions come into play. The algorithms that run a program may be AI level, but without the hard storage, everything comes crashing.

Facebook, the company, declared that they have about $3.36 billion worth of network equipment. The exact number of servers they use is not made public, a 2013 documentary place them at having a data centre covering 300,000 square feet, that’s about the size of 3 football fields. Even at that, they were adding hundreds of thousands of new storage drives to their data centre every day. 1 engineer for every 100million users.  It is simply impossible for such a large database without running into technical problems every now and again. With over 21million feet of fibre optic cables, it’s a wonder that there haven’t been longer breakdowns.


When ICT Solution Giants Fail

This is why internet hosts such as Cloudflare could occasionally get hit by issues such as the massive spike in CPU utilization that saw over a hundred major websites crashing. Melted cables, superheated servers are a few hardware issues that capable of toppling major ICT providers. Facebook, for example, consumes 30mega watts of electricity daily, with backup diesel generators to mitigate breakdowns. All that power ends up generating tons of heat. The need for daily ICT maintenance is quite important to major internet providers and ICT companies. This might account for facebook’s server configuration change outage on the 3rd. And in March.  As ICT solutions providers, we are up to date on the best ICT solutions requirement for individual companies.

Social media requires lots of work to function. This accounts for the staff-friendly state of most ICT giant companies.  It might appear Facebook apps have a worse time of it with constant downtimes, an objective view says otherwise. Twitter alongside major websites hosted on Cloudflare was down in some aspect. As much as ICT solutions have not been perfected, we do believe we have come a long way.

Tolulope AbeICT Solutions; Making Sense of Social Media and Website Crashes

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