In a recent interview with CIO UK, Facebook CIO Tim Campos discusses the company's strategy for moving as much of its IT operations as possible into the cloud. In fact, roughly 70 percent of Facebook's internal IT activities are now managed and operated in cloud-based environments, according to the article. The types of applications and activities that Facebook currently does not operate out of the cloud are things like business intelligence because, as Campos sees it, "the technology is just not there yet."
By having the bulk of its IT activities hosted externally, including the company's reliance on open-sourced data centers, Campos is able to support Facebook's operations with a fairly lean staff of just 60 people, or less than 2 percent of the company's total workforce, according to CIO UK. A recent interview that ComputerWeekly conducted with Campos places the size of Facebook's IT organization at 65 people. You get the idea. It's a fairly bare-bones IT staff for a company whose market cap has been estimated at about $50 billion.
By relying on a predominantly cloud-based approach, Facebook's IT staffers are able to focus their attention on how IT can be applied to the business instead of the type of mundane maintenance activities that often command 70 percent or more of an enterprise company's IT budget and resource efforts.
Having dependable third-party organizations operate and manage critical applications, storage, and other aspects of its operations is vital to Facebook or any company that's placing its stakes in the cloud. Of course, being a relatively new company with a minimal legacy systems burden makes it a lot easier for a company like Facebook to rely more on a hosted systems approach than for, say, a decades-old financial services company. At least, that's how the thinking has been.
While some IT leaders continue to raise doubts about moving specific IT operations to the cloud due to concerns over security, privacy, scale, uptime/reliability, and other uncertainties, others are taking the leap and, in the process, making their IT organizations more agile.