Twitter dumped Joyent as its hosting provider late yesterday (see our report here) and it was presumed by some that the switch away form Joyent was due to the poor reliability of the service. We later learnt that Twitter had switched to Verio, and this is where the rumor mill gets interesting.
According to one source, the move to Verio wasn’t related to issues with Joyent, but due to a yet to be disclosed investment from Japanese telco NTT, who are also the full owners of Verio. They did not provide the amount of the investment or terms, but they suggested it was finalized at the same time the Digital Garage investment was announced. Apparently it had been a done deal for months prior to that, hence the talk that Twitter had been planning a move away from Joyent for months. The Digital Garage deal was announced January 16, so presuming reasonable preparations before that, 15 days after signing to make the move is a reasonable enough time frame.
There is some sense in the notion that NTT may have been involved along side Digital Garage in taking a strategic investment in Twitter. Although both companies are separate, they often cross paths in Japan, and staff such as Stuart Woodward have worked for both. Twitter’s still strong roots as a mobile offering would also appeal to NTT, particularly as Google tries to break into Japan with Jaiku one of the platforms they may eventually be offering, and Digital Garage is creating a Japanese version, so all the better if NTT gets the mobile version of that exclusively on their phones. NTT does however have a search deal with Google, but no doubt due to the promised financial returns from it as opposed to any greater love for Larry and Sergey.
This is an unconfirmed tip so we’ve put an email into Twitter for comment on this, and if we get a response we’ll add it.
On the reliability side, the move to Verio isn’t going well for Twitter so far with regular down time, delayed messages and related issues in the just over 24 hours since the move was made. As one wag suggested on Twitter, “even www.istwitterdown.com can’t keep up.”