Real-time systems at Twitter

Raffi Krikorian (Uber Advanced Technologies Center), Arya Asemanfar (Twitter, Inc.)
Operations Mission City B1
Average rating: ***..
(3.37, 19 ratings)

Our talk covers the migration of the Twitter architecture from primarily Ruby on Rails (RoR) to a JVM-based SOA system with emphasis on high performance, scalability, and resilience to failure. The introduction to the talk will briefly cover the Twitter architecture as it existed throughout most of 2011 and earlier. The bulk of the presentation will be focused on the future of the Twitter architecture and general lessons that can be drawn from it. These general lessons include the advantages of asynchronous, real-time architectures over synchronous, process / thread-oriented systems, as well as caching and data store patterns. We will also discuss the advantages that this approach provides in terms of isolation and maintainability.

We expect the audience to find Twitter’s experience applicable to their own work, whether they are creating a new system that anticipates web scale load or are looking for ways to increase the scalability of their existing site. The sweet spot in terms of audience will be system architects and anyone curious about how systems behave under heavy load. We will avoid religious discussions surrounding RoR, limiting JVM discussion to the obvious topics
required to support asynchronous, real-time systems such as non-blocking IO, thread pools, and low pause times.

There will also be some coverage of Scala and Twitter’s Open Source contributions including Finagle ( to the degree that they support this style of programming, but time will not permit an in-depth discussion of these topics.

Note that this presentation is new, and will probably be adjusted somewhat as we incorporate lessons learned through the development and deployment of these systems this spring.

Photo of Raffi Krikorian

Raffi Krikorian

Uber Advanced Technologies Center

At Twitter, @raffi leads the Applications Services group, the custodians of Twitter’s core logic – his teams manage, amongst other things, the business logic, scalable delivery, APIs, and authentication of Twitter’s application. Previously, he was the lead of the public APIs as well as being the one of those behind Twitter’s Geospatial APIs.

Before Twitter he used to create technologies to help people frame their personal energy consumption against global energy production (Wattzon – Business Week’s “Best Idea” 2008), and also ran a consulting company building off-the-wall projects. At one point, he used to teach at NYU’s ITP (created the class “Every Bit You Make”) and spent way too much time as a student at MIT and the MIT Media Lab (Internet 0 – Scientific American September 2004).

Arya Asemanfar

Twitter, Inc.

At @twittereng, Arya is an engineer on the Application Services team, the custodians of Twitter’s core logic and application infrastructure. He is responsible for aspects of the business logic and scalable delivery of Twitter’s application.

Before Twitter he worked at Serious Business as a Technical Lead. Serious Business was acquired by Zynga, where Arya was a Principal Software Engineer working on key infrastructure for CityVille and Treasure Isle, as well as helping to start the Shared Tech Group, a common game architecture that underlies all new games created at Zynga.


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