Here is a wrap up of some links and information from the friendster PHP conversion of a couple weeks ago.
First, it appears performance really was a major problem for friendster. Friendster Quickly Gathering Foes:
The key issues behind the Friendster abandonment trend, according to users, are the service’s inability to do anything about its habitual server lag problems, and its growing reputation for heavy-handed moral policies and unilateral decisions it makes on behalf of its members.
Notified of the security holes Moore and Chisholm exploit, Friendster rep Lisa Kopp insists, “We have a policy that we are not being hacked.” When I explain that, policy or no, they are being hacked, she says, “Security isn’t a priority for us. We’re mostly focused on making the site go faster.”
While the consensus seems to be that you can write scalable applications in either Java or PHP, MySQL is another major part of Friendster’s architecture. Why Friendster is so slow makes an educated guess on the cause of Friendsters performance problems, laying the blame on an inappropriate use of MySQL. I wonder how much of this is educated and how much of this is guess.
Philip Greenspun suggests that Friendster “flush MySQL and replace with Oracle 10g.”
It would seem that the friendster folks have a mysql support contract and Attend MySQL conferences:
between sessions, three young men from Friendster are chatting with a neat-looking person in a MySQL shirt, who introduces them to another neat-looking person in a MySQL shirt and says, “he’ll be your primary support contact.”
If the natural architecture of PHP is to push scalability issues out of the language and into the database, the Friendster case seems to raise the question, does MySQL scale?
I would like to see more official information out of Friendster regarding this case.