Ask Ning: Can You Scale My Network?
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Network Creators love to ask us whether the Ning Platform can scale a social network on Ning to millions of people and page views. It’s a great question.

The short answer is absolutely. That’s why we’re here. Our general approach is to quietly earn your trust on this front by simply being up and, well, awesome. As your network continues to grow and grow and grow, it should just work. You shouldn’t even have to think about it.

The longer answer is that creating a platform that works smoothly and speedily at high volume is a challenge. We love challenges. It’s an area that we have taken seriously from the start and a place where we’ve put our money where our mouth is.

Stuff will always happen, but we’ve taken significant measures to ensure that your social network on Ning can be as successful as you want it to be. Behind the scenes, here are a few of the things we’ve done to ensure in your network can achieve world domination:

  • Horizontal scalability. We have designed our systems so increasing capacity is easy. We just add machines.
  • The Ning Platform is built using the best technology for the job: We’ve got Java in the back and PHP in the front.
  • Abstracted Content Store: No need to worry about scaling SQL databases.
  • Extra capacity: We have maintained the environment to sustain levels significantly higher than our average level of traffic, and we constantly increase capacity as the average grows to maintain this goal. Additionally, we continually analyze the performance and systems and optimize them to squeeze more of our existing systems.
  • Built-in, transparent Akamai edge distribution: For large media files (videos, photos, etc) we support transparent serving through Akamai, to provide the best experience possible no matter where you are in the world.
  • Proven: Our traffic has grown tenfold in the last six months, while performance and uptime have increased. As you think about partners for creating social networks, it’s probably not a bad idea to ask yourself what kind of volume that company handles across the networks on it. I would argue that you want a platform that has proven it can scale.

A lot of thought, effort, iteration, and real world experience has gone into enabling your social network on Ning to scale successfully without you ever having to think about it. Think of it as a reverse mullet. It may be a party in the front, but it’s all business in the back.