Twitter Will Get Its Own Data Center

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John Adams of the Twitter ops team at Velocity 2009 (Photo by Duncan Davidson via Flickr)

Twitter will be moving to its own data center soon to accommodate the rapid growth of its service, the company said yesterday. John Adams of the Twitter operations team revealed the company’s plans during a presentation at its Chirp developer conference.

Until now, the popular microblogging service has used managed hosting services from NTT America, which has deployed Twitter’s servers in dedicated space in NTT America data centers. Twitter also has used Amazon’s cloud computing services to store and deploy images, including profile pictures. Adams’ presentation (embedded below) doesn’t indicate whether Twitter will build its own data center or lease its own wholesale data center space.

In the wholesale model, a tenant leases dedicated, fully-built data center space. This approach offers greater control then managed hosting or colocation, and is quicker and cheaper than building an entire data center facility. The tenant pays a significant premium over typical leases for office space, but is spared the capital investment to construct the data center.

Twitter’s decision to operate its own data center reflects the growing importance of infrastructure as audience growth scales to “Internet scale” levels. Twitter has grown into the 12th largest site, according to Adams, who shared numbers on the company’s growth:

  • Twitter’s traffic grew 752 percent in 2008 and 1,358 percent in 2009.
  • The service now has more than 105 million users, who send 55 million tweets daily.
  • The velocity of the Tweetsream reaches a daily peak of 1,000 messages per second.
  • Twitter users conduct 600 million searches per day.
  • About 75 percent of traffic is from third-party services using the Twitter API, with the remaining 25 perfcent from the Twitter.com web site.

Twitter’s growth has been one of the factors prompting NTT to lease additional data center space in Silicon Valley. In the past year, NTT has occupied new wholesale data center space in Santa Clara and San Jose to accommodate its growth.

In shifting to its own data center space, Twitter will have greater control over its infrastructure, and perhaps have more options for network connectivity. We have contacted Twitter seeking additional details, and will update once we hear more.

View more presentations from John Adams.

Here’s more of our coverage of Twitter’s infrastructure:

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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