The web hosting world was rocked last month when Facebook announced that they will move the hosting for their WhatsApp messaging service from IBM’s public cloud to their own servers. Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, the largest acquisition Facebook has made yet. Facebook hasn’t done much with that buyout until 2017, when they finally announced that they’ll be moving the hosting for WhatsApp away from IBM’s public cloud, and onto their own data centers.
What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is an online mobile messaging service. It’s used to send mobile messages and files between users, as well as to make video and voice calls. It was launched in November 2009 by its founders, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both Yahoo alumni.
WhatsApp is currently used by 1.2 billion people across the world. It’s known for providing end-to-end encryption, which has landed it in hot water with some governments across the world, including that of the UK.
What is the IBM Public Cloud?
The public cloud is IBM’s cloud hosting service. It provides hosting to some of the biggest companies in the world, especially in the banking sector, where it hosts Lloyds Bank of the UK, and Westpac of New Zealand.
The loss of WhatsApp, one of its top five customers, will be devastating for IBM, as it attempts to compete with the other corporate hosting giants, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure Cloud.
What is the Facebook Data Center?
Facebook’s data center is its proprietary hosting platform. When it was launched, Facebook’s hosting was in co-located data centers. However, since 2010, they have built their own centers, with their own hardware designs, to improve efficiency and avoid paying for other services.
Many of their hosting hardware designs have been released to developers via the Open Compute Project, which has led to independent manufacturers building their own low-cost compatible hardware and selling it back to Facebook. Facebook claims to have saved over $2 billion by releasing their designs.
Why is WhatsApp Moving Its Hosting?
The main reason is to save money. It’s estimated that moving WhatsApp’s hosting away from IBM will save $2 million per month.
Facebook, throughout their history, has liked to move every service they acquire in-house quickly. It has taken a long time for Facebook to get around to moving WhatsApp’s hosting in-house, but there are mitigating reasons. When they bought WhatsApp in 2014, they were in the process of migrating the hosting of one of their other massive acquisitions, Instagram. They moved that from Amazon Web Services to their own data centers in a process that took more than a year.
Facebook also believes that their data centers are the best in the industry, so it will make WhatsApp more efficient and reliable, allowing them to provide their users with a better service.
Will This Affect Users?
Facebook believes it’s unlikely that any WhatsApp users will notice the migration, so for the average user, it won’t matter much.
It matters more for those who work in and around the hosting industry. It could be seen as a lack of faith in cloud hosting as a concept. Although, many companies are still transitioning to cloud services, and as technology improves, it should still be the future of hosting.
Facebook is a notoriously difficult company to predict. Acquisitions like that of Instagram and WhatsApp were largely kept under wraps. They’re also famous for adding new features to their social media sites regularly, keeping their users guessing.
The migration of WhatsApp could mean a merger between WhatsApp and Facebook’s own Messenger app. Or, Facebook may be happy keeping the two services running in parallel.
Once this migration is over, you could expect Facebook to begin another round of acquisitions. It’s hard to believe, but they haven’t bought a single company in 2017. In 2016, they bought five.
Facebook is on a mission to be the biggest company in the world. No one expects it to stop here.
So that’s all the facts behind the biggest hosting migration of 2017 so far. We look forward to keeping you up to date with further hosting news stories.