At Facebook, the IT organization isn’t called “IT.” Instead, it’s referred to as the “enterprise engineering organization.” As Facebook client platform engineer Nick McSpadden told me, that’s because at a company that operates at the scale of Facebook, IT has to be about more than pushing buttons on a vendor product. And to emphasize this, the company today open sourced one of its internal IT management services for giving users access to products in Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
The enterprise engineering organization at Facebook currently manages almost 30,000 computers and close to 40,000 mobile devices. Most of the laptops and desktops run OS X, but there are also about 8,000 Windows machines involved. “After you get to a certain size, there aren’t a lot of turnkey solutions you can buy from vendors,” McSpadden notes. So the team uses a lot of open source tools and builds its own when necessary. McSpadden argues that vendors tend to build their solutions for mainstream use cases, but there are always edge cases, and, at the scale of a company like Facebook, those edge cases can quickly add up and drain the IT team’s productivity.
The team decided on open sourcing these Adobe-centric tools because it’s such a widely used vendor and because it has such a wide audience. Facebook’s scripts allow enterprise organizations to easily add new accounts to their Adobe subscription (which at this scale is likely based on an enterprise agreement), give specific users access to certain tools and remove that access again when necessary.
McSpadden tells me that Adobe itself is excited about seeing this new tool going open source and he stressed that there is really nothing Facebook-specific about the code. “We don’t want to release things that only work at FB,” he said. “We want it to be possible for anybody to be able to work with this out of the box.”
The code is now available on GitHub, and McSpadden tells me that Facebook would be happy to take outside contributions.