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The Tao of Facebook: 'Social Graph' Takes New Path

By Wired News

July 1, 2013

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Facebook has developed a system called The Association of Objects (TAO) that facilitates the balance between data stored in MySQL and more frequently accessed data stored in Memcached. Most data is stored in MySQL, but Memcached is used to store data that needs to load quickly in the memory subsystems of servers.

Engineers that maintain the social networking giant have struggled with balancing MySQL and Memcached, and TAO was introduced several years ago to make that process easier. "It was important to build something that would help Facebook engineers move fast," says Facebook software engineer Mark Marchukov. "Before, engineers had to understand the details of how both the cache and the MySQL data stores operated in order to write efficient code, and that slowed down the rate of development.

With TAO, we put in an API [application programming interface] that they could use without thinking about the details."

In addition to the TAO interface, Facebook rebuilt the software behind the API. The company has tailored its system for the specific data structures that comprise Facebook's social graph of interconnected people and information.

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