Sometimes the best laid plans of network engineers are overtaken by an international crisis. The microblogging service Twitter said late today that it would postpone scheduled maintenance downtime to keep the service available during the tumultuous political events in Iran. The move followed a day-long protest by some Twitter users, who said Twitter had become a critical communications tool for the Iranian opposition.
"A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter," co-founder Biz Stone wrote on the Twitter blog. "In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight's planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30a in Iran)."
This is yet another reminder of the critical importance of uptime, and how the universe of sites and services that "can't go down" continues to expand. It's a trend that places further focus on the data centers supporting these sites.
Stone went out of his way to acknowledge the support of its hosting provider, NTT America. "Our partners are taking a huge risk not just for Twitter but also the other services they support worldwide," he wrote. "We commend them for being flexible in what is essentially an inflexible situation. We chose NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services early last year specifically because of their impeccable history of reliability and global perspective. Today's decision and actions continue to prove why NTT America is such a powerful partner for Twitter."