Twitter: Now Facing Scale Challenges

By Jay Shah | News

A database hang-up is not something which should bother a tech website too much, but for Twitter, it could be a sign of things to come. This was not the first time that the Twitter database and API’s got affected due to a long-running query and clients outside the official website had to bear the brunt.

Twitter has grown at an unbelievable rate, but the site has not been able to keep up with the increasing demand, technically at least. Not just the tech-savvy, even general social media users are now hooked on to Twitter. And the Twitter machinery seems to be wilting under this pressure, the latest indication being the database hang-up.


The response from the company has not been too reassuring either. After a spate of technical problems during the FIFA World Cup, the official line was that an improperly configured network was behind the downtime and other problems.

At the same time it was also stated that the capacity of the network had been doubled to balance the load of traffic and prevent downtime!

Even if this improvement has been put in place, it clearly is not working. The challenges of scaling up are cornering Twitter fast and the company is still assuring its users that they are doing their utmost to keep things running smoothly. But it may be an uphill task.


To illustrate why the challenge may actually be insurmountable, here is a statistic: Twitter had 105 million users in April and now they have 124 million registered users! That’s 19 million new users in just over 2 months and that’s why Twitter is having problems in up-scaling.

By the time a new set up is in place the user base has grown by millions and there is renewed need for improvement. And what is the Twitter team actually doing about it?

After the rough times during the World Cup, more than 50 performance and optimizations mods have been introduced. Some of the important ones involve:

  • The process by which the app accesses the memory cache.
  • Improved page caching on the front and profile
  • Throughputs to the database where Tweets are stored.

As the ultimate solution, Twitter is getting its own data center very soon and is also in the process of recruiting top talent for making things function smoothly. Once these steps are in place, it will be clear how they have worked. And work they must, if Twitter has to thrive!

About the Author

Jay simply loves any tech that can make life easier, better, faster and more enjoyable. And with hundreds if not thousands of Gadgets, Apps, Games being launched everyday, there's more than enough out there to keep this hardcore techie occupied and obsessed!

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