Social media platform Twitter is exploring the possibility of cutting extra server space in an effort to reduce costs.
According to a Reuters report, the steep infrastructure cuts could put the Twitter website and app at risk of going down during critical events when users are rushing to Twitter to consume and share information, such as during moments of crisis or major political events. Cost cuts could also come from reduced spending on Google Cloud services, the Reuters report said.
A spokesperson for Google Cloud to declined to comment. The existing infrastructure is in place to ensure Twitter can handle high traffic, one source said.
Nuts & Bolts of Twitter’s Infra
While Twitter does not share details of the kind of infrastructure it uses in the back-end, Twitter came of age when hardware from physical enterprise vendors ruled the data center. Since then we’ve continually engineered and refreshed our fleet to take advantage of the latest open standards in technology and hardware efficiency in order to deliver the best possible experience, Mazdak Hashemi, former VP of Infrastructure and Operations of Twitter had said.
Twitter started to migrate from third party hosting in early 2010, which meant it had to learn how to build and run its infrastructure internally. With limited visibility into the core infrastructure needs, we began iterating through various network designs, hardware, and vendors.
By late 2010, we finalized our first network architecture which was designed to address the scale and service issues we encountered in the hosted colo, noted Hashemi. Fast forward a few years and Twitter was running a network with POPs on five continents and data centers with hundreds of thousands of servers.
“In early 2015 we started experiencing some growing pains due to changing service architecture and increased capacity needs, ultimately reaching physical scalability limits in the data center when a full mesh topology would not support additional hardware needed to add new racks. Additionally, our existing data center IGP began to behave unexpectedly due to this increasing route scale and topology complexity,” stated Hashemi.
Twitter’s first data center was built by modeling the capacity and traffic profiles from the known system in the colo center. A few years later, its data centers are now several times larger than the original design.
Hashemi was of the view that as the application stack has evolved and Twitter has become more distributed, traffic profiles have changed as well. The original assumptions that guided its early network designs no longer were applicable.
“Our traffic grows faster than we can re-architect an entire datacenter so it’s important to build a highly scalable architecture that will allow adding capacity incrementally instead in forklift-esque migrations,” he had said.