The size, scale, and numbers of

I work in the Marketplaces business at eBay. That’s the part of the company that builds,,,, and most of the other worldwide marketplaces under the eBay brand. (The other major parts of eBay Inc are PayPal, GSI Commerce, x.commerce, and StubHub.)

I am lucky to have opportunities to speak publicly about eBay, and about the technology we’re building. It’s an exciting time to give a talk – we are in the middle of rewriting our search engine, we’ve improved search substantially, we’re automating our data centers, we’re retooling our user experience development stack, and much more.

At the beginning of most talks, I get the chance to share a few facts about our scale and size. I thought I’d share some with you:

  • We have over 10 petabytes of data stored in our Hadoop and Teradata clusters. Hadoop is primarily used by engineers who use data to build products, and Teradata is primarily used by our finance team to understand our business
  • We have over 300 million items for sale, and over a billion accessible at any time (including, for example, items that are no longer for sale but that are used by customers for price research)
  • We process around 250 million user queries per day (which become many billions of queries behind the scenes – query rewriting implies many calls to search to provide results for a single user query, and many other parts of our system use search for various reasons)
  • We serve over 2 billion pages to customers every day
  • We have over 100 million active users
  • We sold over US$68 billion in merchandize in 2011
  • We make over 75 billion database calls each day (our database tables are denormalized because doing relational joins at our scale is often too slow – and so we precompute and store the results, leading to many more queries that take much less time each)

They’re some pretty large numbers, ones that make our engineering challenges exciting and rewarding to solve.

Any surprises for you?

39 thoughts on “The size, scale, and numbers of

  1. thefuture2020

    Yeah, i was thinking About selling my ps2 bundle on there so i went to see what people were charging for having alot of games with it and so far i found nothing but bid wars. Don’t know much about ebay but its been around long enough to have a global empire by now, lol. I mean do you know that the Transformer’s first movie game came out for the Ps2, thats how long ago that movie was The movie were Optimus Prime mentioned ebay so you can imagine all the profit they must have maid from that point on – Just Saying -,o

  2. Chris White

    Hi there. Does this include ?
    I’m pretty much sure that if ebay closed down then our post offices would probably have to close as well … as ebay customers give them a huge amount of business.
    The only thing we don’t like about the ebay process is customer ratings for delivery, postage etc … just one low rating drags everything down and it may well be because someone was overcharged 10p on postage. No way of knowing of course. Apart from that … it’s a great ‘little’ company. Wish I’d thought of it.

  3. Mikalee Byerman

    OK, I feel smarter now: Until just a few moments ago, I had no idea what a “petabyte” was! One quadrillion — wow…

    Thank you — impressive numbers!


  4. SunflowerHW

    I’m been a fan of eBay since the very beginning. I remember when I sent money orders to pay for items. It’s grown enormously since then. Thanks for the numbers and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  5. HoaiPhai

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed and a “peta thank you” to you and the rest of the ebay staff for the service they provide. I’ve bought a lot of new and used “crap”, as one commenter put it, through eBay including a used discontinued lens for $250 that would cost me $9000 for a new lens or the same magnification (albeit with improvements and all the bells and whistles). Viva eBay!

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  7. funnyphuppo

    Thanks for all the stats. I am a big fan of eBay and love what you guys are doing. Congrats on being part of such an exciting company. When are you guys seriously moving into the Asian markets?

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  10. Hugh E. Williams Post author

    Chris -> the figures are worldwide, and include all ebay sites (but not sites that aren’t branded ebay)

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