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Twitter to Build Data Center to Beach the Fail Whale

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Twitter has decided to put the millions it has raised toward building its own data center, according to a blog post published this evening by the social messaging service. The data center, which will be located around Salt Lake City, Utah, should come online in the fall. The company also says it plans to “bring additional Twitter managed data centers online over the next 24 months.”

We wondered if Twitter was going to build its own data center back in April after John Adams, a Twitter engineer, mentioned the proposition on a slide. However, I ultimately thought it wouldn’t, given that it had just signed a deal with NTT America to expand its dedicated hosting space. Apparently the deal with NTT stays, but the demands of keeping up with the 300,000 people who sign up to the service on an average day requires more customization and more control, which is the main reason Twitter gives for this decision. It also wrote:

Second, Twitter will have full control over network and systems configuration, with a much larger footprint in a building designed specifically around our unique power and cooling needs. Twitter will be able to define and manage to a finer grained SLA on the service as we are managing and monitoring at all layers. The data center will house a mixed-vendor environment for servers running open source OS and applications.

Third, having our own data center will give us the flexibility to more quickly make adjustments as our infrastructure needs change.

Indeed, having your own data center is a big milestone for large-scale web services. Facebook announced a data center in January, and despite the lure of the cloud, other webscale operations are keeping some of their servers. Twitter had started out in the cloud, but moved from Amazon’s (s amzn) EC2 to Joyent and then to dedicated NTT hosting, after deciding latency in the cloud was too high. Perhaps Twitter, like Facebook and Google (the granddaddy of webscale infrastructure), has decided that aside from custom code, it needs a custom home for its hardware to ensure a strategic advantage.

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13 Responses to “Twitter to Build Data Center to Beach the Fail Whale”

  1. Twitter should sell archived content as e-books. Or allow people to create something like TwitterNotes, a new version of cliff notes, for resale and download. Turn that aggregated content into something, because ads don’t keep the lights on forever…

  2. having their own data center is a move they should have done years ago, and in another matter maybe if they will have their own data center then this social platform will change and develop, right now as it seems this social platform is going to have a Downfall…

  3. J. Andrew Rogers

    “our unique power and cooling needs”

    Do they require electricity hand-cranked by Tibetan monks? Can their servers only be cooled by the wing-beats of a hummingbird over an Icelandic glacier? I’ll bet their servers are really orangutans trained to put ones and zeros in the InterTubes.

    Their data center might not be working out but I cannot imagine that their power and cooling requirements rise to the level of what most people would consider to be “unique”. Just sayin’.

    • +1

      And didnt fb just do fine compared to twitter till 350+million users and a helluva lot more media/data vs. twitter before needing to build their own data center. “more control” over networks and configurations” they say – uhh sure.