Instagram finally picked up and moved from AWS to Facebook

Instagram finally picked up and moved from AWS to Facebook

Summary: Instagram actually isn't the first (or last) Facebook property to have kept its cloud infrastructure over at Amazon Web Services rather than moving it over to its parent company.


Instagram announced this week that it has picked up and migrated its infrastructure from Amazon Web Services to Facebook.

The move was announced on Thursday by Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger while speaking at the O’Reilly Velocity conference in New York.

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for approximately $300 million in cash and shares.

Instagram actually isn't the first (or last) Facebook property to have maintained its cloud infrastructure over at Amazon Web Services after being brought into the fold of the growing social media conglomerate.

For example, cross-platform services provider Parse stayed on with the Seattle-based cloud and retail giant following its own acquisition last year.

Then again, switching cloud vendors under any circumstances is never an easy feat, even if the new provider happens to be the parent company.

Instagram engineers Rick Branson, Pedro Canahuati and Nick Shortway admitted as much in a blog post on Thursday:

The migration seemed simple enough at first: set up a secure connection between Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and a Facebook data center, and migrate services across the gap piece by piece. Easy.

Not so much. The main blocker to this easy migration was that Facebook’s private IP space conflicts with that of EC2. We had but one route: migrate to Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) first, followed by a subsequent migration to Facebook using Amazon Direct Connect. Amazon’s VPC offered the addressing flexibility necessary to avoid conflicts with Facebook’s private network.

The undertaking took a year to complete -- a task that became increasingly arduous as the company's membership base doubled in size to 200 million monthly active users.

The priority, according to Instagram engineers, was to keep Instagram fully afloat and available worldwide without many infrastructure changes not to mention falling behind on product development.

Nevertheless, Instagram engineers explained that the year-long time frame enabled the photo-sharing app to continue (and even accelerate) product development while further integrating itself with more internal Facebook systems.

Topics: Cloud, Data Centers, Data Management, Social Enterprise, Web development

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1 comment
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  • It took a year?

    Maybe they need to hire an engineer or two.

    Spreading these stories is hardly going to endear people to the Cloud - when locked in syndrome is already clients' greatest fear.

    In reality, of course, Instagram probably had a contract with Amazon that just ran out, so the move could take place. Having contrcated to pay Amazon, why wouldn't they use what they'd paid for?

    Why they'd release a cover story that makes them appear incompetent, I really cannot imagine.