How Facebook Helped Box Get Much Faster

Facebook f8 mark zuckerbergKyle Russell/Business InsiderFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

It’s not too common to see an enterprise company use technology developed by a big consumer company to improve its product.

But that’s exactly what happened over the past 10 months with Box, an enterprise storage and collaboration app. After moving to a technology developed by Facebook, Box has been able to get three times faster, according to a blog post by Box’s software engineer Joe Marrama.

Specifically, average latency — the delay in delivering information over the Internet from Box’s cloud system to end users — has dropped in one-third.

Box moved its cloud-based system off Apache to Facebook’s HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM), an open-source PHP virtual machine that provides significantly faster performance than the standard PHP runtime. The speed increase has been clear across the board, Box says, including its web app, mobile apps, and API. Box also expects to make “very large savings” in infrastructure costs over the coming years because of this, he says.

HHVM processes programs written in Hack and PHP. Its website says it runs much of the world’s existing PHP, including the top 20 Github PHP frameworks. Its goal is to run all PHP code “existing in the wild,” according to its website.

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