On May 17 I shared my frustrations with constant downtime on group instant messaging service Twitter. The responses were interesting. Twitter users are passionate about the service and many see it as a mission critical application.
A lot can change in the space of 2 weeks. Since writing that post Twitter’s uptime has improved remarkably. There are still downtime issues; Twitter was offline for over 5 hours Monday according to Pingdom; however these figures are deceptive as there is a noticeable improvement in quality when Twitter is up. Twitter has not been plagued by intermittent functionality failures such as API support issues that block third party tools such as Twitbin from connecting, as was the case two weeks ago.
I asked Twitter’s Biz Stone what was going on behind the scenes at Twitter.
Has Twitter become more stable following the issues earlier in the month? What has the Twitter team learned from the experience?
Biz Stone: “We’ve worked to isolate various parts of our system to prevent one outage from taking out the entire network. Investigation into the causes of previous bouts of instability have taught us a great deal about our usage patterns and shown us a clearer path towards being prepared for future waves of growth and usage”.
In what way has Twitter’s reliability improved?
Biz Stone: “Our recent efforts towards scalability allow us to stay on our current growth curve, and even increase the rate as we add new ways to send and receive updates such as our recent Facebook application”.
What next in terms of scalability?
Biz Stone: “We’ll continue to isolate different aspects of the system and perform micro-optimizations of heavy-usage areas. We’re currently implementing additional internal tools which will enable us to do more meaningful research of usage patterns. Finally, we are adding more machines”.
Let’s hope Twitter stays on the straight and narrow.
More crunch: click here for the Twitter fact sheet.