Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Brags of Successful Data Center Migration

Twitter, after years of fighting the Fail Whale, has recently made major changes under the hood to ensure its messaging service will stay online. Its engineering and operations teams coordinated a massive effort starting last September to migrate Twitter not once, but twice, shifting 20 TB of tweets and live traffic-serving from a first data center to a second testing center to its third “final nesting ground.”

Over the last couple months in particular, I’ve heard murmurs through the grapevine of Twitter engineers boasting as shifts happened with no disruption to the service.

Twitter VP of Engineering Michael Abbott publicly bragged about the migration today in a blog post, but declined to disclose where the data center musical chairs actually occurred, or why multiple moves were necessary.

Since 2008, the company–which coincidentally is celebrating the five-year anniversary of the first tweet today–2008 had been using NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services, which has a data center in San Jose, Calif., and later expanded to Santa Clara. In July 2010, Twitter said it would move into a custom-built data center in Salt Lake City before the end of that year.

But that didn’t happen, and in December, Twitter reportedly leased data center space in Sacramento.

In a rare sentence that didn’t include a bird metaphor (flocking! nesting! migration!), Abbott described the implications of the data center move in his blog post: “This move gives us the capacity to deliver Tweets with greater reliability and speed, and creates more runway to focus on the most interesting operations and engineering problems.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work