Simon Willison’s Weblog

How FriendFeed uses MySQL to store schema-less data. The pain of altering/ adding indexes to tables with 250 million rows was killing their ability to try out new features, so they’ve moved to storing pickled Python objects and manually creating the indexes they need as denormalised two column tables. These can be created and dropped much more easily, and are continually populated by an off-line index building process.