Twitter battles fail whale with new data center

Microblogger fights growing pains, outages by building its own data center

Tired of getting a fail whale when you try to tweet or simply try to log onto Twitter?

Seems that the execs at Twitter are too.

Jean-Paul Cozzatti, an engineer at Twitter, announced in a blog post this week that the microblogging service is moving its technical operations infrastructure into a new, custom-built data center in the Salt Lake City area.

"We're excited about the move for several reasons," wrote Cozzatti. "First, Twitter's user base has continued to grow steadily in 2010, with over 300,000 people a day signing up for new accounts on an average day. Keeping pace with these users and their Twitter activity presents some unique and complex engineering challenges.

"Having dedicated data centers will give us more capacity to accommodate this growth in users and activity on Twitter."

The Twitter engineer added that with a new data center, Twitter will have full control its network and systems configuration, and staffers will be able to work in a much larger building designed for their power and cooling specifications. Cozzatti added that the data center will house a "mixed-vendor environment" for servers running open source operating systems and applications.

Matt Graves, a Twitter spokesman, said in his own blog post this week that the data center is a big part of making Twitter a more stable and reliable platform.

"When you can't update your profile photo, send a Tweet, or even sign on to Twitter, it's frustrating. We know that, and we've had too many of these issues recently," wrote Graves. "The bulk of our engineering efforts are currently focused on this issue, and we have moved resources from other projects to focus on it."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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