Facebook’s new Oregon data center has a Mobile Device Lab. This lab manages the company’s performance in real-time not on any simulator but on actual mobile devices. In order to provide the similar experience, the website, and the app has to work the same independent of the device used.
From flagship to bargain handsets, the Mobile Device Lab has racks of it with a capacity of up to 60 devices. This process started from a sled, basically, a metal rack holding devices. Later a Gondola was built as the metal restricted WI-Fi. But the idea of a Gondola was also not perfect as the to and fro wires make it clumsy. It is further modified as a Slatwall was made as an extension of the Gondola. Later the number of Gondolas spread to the size of a room containing only 240 devices.
At Menlo Park headquarters the desired about 2000 devices up and running which is not a very bright idea, hence they started rolling out to the company’s data centers. Just plug in some phones and keep them up and running, sounds simple enough isn’t it well it’s not. Each rack contains either 4 OCP servers or 8 mac minis. Each OCP can handle 8 phones and each mac can be connected to 4 mac devices hence each rack can accommodate 32 phones. The racks have their own WI-Fi access points.
When software are concerned the fact that Facebook website changes quite frequently and the app was updated twice a month is to be taken care. Package manager and configuration managers are known as ‘chef’ are what Facebook uses to manage them. It also manages the notifications when the configuration is changed. Even when the chef says all is good and working there can still be device issues.
The company doesn’t want you to say the app crashed or act weird ever again. The company is planning on scaling the racks to accommodate more devices and for that, they have to overcome some hurdles first.