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Twitter Leads Social Networks In Downtime

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the great-to-be-top-of-the-list dept.

Social Networks 175

illectro writes "A study on site availability by monitoring service Pingdom shows that in 2008 Twitter greeted users with the 'Fail Whale' for more than 84 hours, almost twice as much as any other site. At the other end of the scale imeem and Xanga managed less than 4 hours of downtime for 99.95% uptime. Myspace, Facebook and Classmates.com were the only other sites studied which managed to stay up more than 99.9% of the time."

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They are cut off (2, Informative)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905587)

So go out and get some sunshine or something.

Re:They are cut off (4, Funny)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905661)

Go outside, take a sunbath, twitter your friend about it... err, ha, well...

Re:They are cut off (1)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905755)

I really am curious about Twitter. I refuse to register for anymore 'social' websites...I'd rather actually go out and be social. But my question is, what is the point? Do my friends want to know I took a dump at the office at ~2:14pm today?....do they?

Re:They are cut off (4, Funny)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905807)

Twitter Shitter [penny-arcade.com]

Re:They are cut off (1)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905955)

Frankly...that just made me WANT to use it. Imagine the potential for abuse if your colleagues are on your 'list'? "Pulling all nighter at office" "Frustrated with this big account" "Heading down to archives for more info" Then call in the next day saying you need a personal day... I know that wouldn't fly in the private sector...go government jobs!

Re:They are cut off (1)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905843)

Well, a friend of mine did this kind of stuff when he first got his iphone (via sms). But true, i don't see the point myself, beside when it is used by TPB members :)

Re:They are cut off (3, Funny)

exley (221867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906049)

Go outside, take a sunbath, twitter your friend about it... err, ha, well...

No, what you need to do in that situation is go and create a Facebook group about it.

Re:They are cut off (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905851)

So go out and get some sunshine or something.

Pfft. Who needs to go out to get sunshine [wallpaperbase.com] ?

'Get a life' as a positive suggestion (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905867)

I've made a number of technological choices accommodating downtime precisely as a motivator to get out and do something real.

Much as I'd love the always-connected nature of an iPhone, I settle for the iPod Touch precisely because it's not always connected - if I can't get WiFi service, that's a good thing. Blogging is fine, but the rapid update demands of Facebook are more than is worth spending my limited lifespan on. I'm increasingly disliking digital videography, preferring to live the moment than get wrapped up in trying to record it (only to most likely not "relive it" later). Twitter is down? good - go talk to someone in person.

Re:'Get a life' as a positive suggestion (2, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906275)

the rapid update demands of Facebook are more than is worth spending my limited lifespan on

Demands? Facebook requires you to update? You must be using a different site than the one I know.

Re:'Get a life' as a positive suggestion (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906347)

No kidding. I've always been frustrated with people who claim they're "deleting my account because of the amount of time I waste on here". Hello? Just stop spending so much time on it...

The only reason I can think of to delete your account would be if you actually wanted to mass-delete every note and posted item you'd posted, every post on your wall, and every tag that you'd ever been given. Otherwise, just disappear for a week or three. Your "friends" will forgive you, and the real ones might even call or e-mail if they're really that concerned about you falling off the face of the earth.

Re:'Get a life' as a positive suggestion (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906795)

Good for you that it works for a motivator. The rest of us just exercise self-control.

84 hours???? (4, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905615)

And yet it had 0% impact on my life. So who really cares.

Re:84 hours???? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905803)

Me either - I've never been tempted to visit twitter and would not have noticed.

However, I have to give them props for the fail whale [designlessbetter.com] . I ran into that graphic somewhere-or-other and it's got to be the single best network-overload graphic I've seen.

Re:84 hours???? (1)

motek (179836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905995)

Well, 'social media' IS downtime. So either way, the users get what they are coming for.

Re:84 hours???? (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906257)

Based on the average of 50,500 tweets per day [tweetrush.com] , that's 4,242,000 tweets lost due to 84 hours of downtime / year. If the downtime was at 8 or 9am, then that would only be roughly 3,024,000 tweets lost, or almost 5,460,000 tweets lost at 3pm...

Re:84 hours???? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907013)

So millions of people were unable to tell their friends they were taking a dump? Oh, the humanity!

Re:84 hours???? (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907477)

Someone needs to recheck their math.

84 / 24 = 3.5 days of downtime.
3.5 x 50,500 = 176750 tweets lost in a year.

Not that it matters, since it's useless.

Re:84 hours???? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907285)

Ten years ago, slashdot was the place where people would come and enthusiastically discuss hot new technology and trends.

Today, the easy upmods come from playing the part of the crotchety old traditionalist who could not care less about whatever new thing those damn kids are into, because if you can't do it with an awk script and a soldering iron, it shouldn't be done!

Oh slashdot, has your spirit died?

99.9% uptime (1)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905655)

Go facebook! 'Stealing' my data, 99.9% of the time! (Yes, I do have a facebook account)

84 hours?!?! (5, Interesting)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905659)

I find it kind of strange that a site as incredibly simple as Twitter had so much downtime. Granted, they probably don't have the multiple dedicated redundant datacenters to their name like MySpace and Facebook do... but still, they're only serving little tidbits of text.

Re:84 hours?!?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26905711)

Cause they picked ruby on rails, and built it in a totally unscalable way.
Also, who cares.

Re:84 hours?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906057)

So true.

Re:84 hours?!?! (0, Flamebait)

inotocracy (762166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906527)

Rails sucks, twitter is proof.

Re:84 hours?!?! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907007)

Please see my reply to someone else further up. Twitter has publicly stated that their DATABASE issues are not and have not been due to Rails. They have publicly stated that they would choose Rails again for the Twitter project, given a choice.

Please stick to the facts rather than baseless insults.

Re:84 hours?!?! (1)

quonsar (61695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907095)

Yeah, and mathowie said the same thing about ColdFusion for Mefi.

Re:84 hours?!?! (2, Insightful)

CMonk (20789) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906749)

What does rails have to do with building in an unscalable way? You could say the same but sub in php, c, java, perl, .net, etc. As I understand it most of their problems stem from them thinking a SQL database would make a good message bus.

Re:84 hours?!?! (0)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906059)

Ummmm except that they handle a lot of little tidbits of text. Twitter isn't some chintzy simple site, they handle a HUGE volume of data. Their scalability problems come from their database layer (or rather their inability to setup a stable database layer) not Rails.

I'm punching the next person who posts to this that it doesn't scale because of rails in the face. I'm sick of people who don't understand the HUGE distinction between scalability and performance.

Re:84 hours?!?! (2, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906311)

Awww, the poor little rails fan is gonna get violent on the internet. Good way to make a point, hotshot.

Re:84 hours?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906403)

Really. Twitter doesn't scale because it uses Ruby On Rails.

Re:84 hours?!?! (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906479)

Oh BS. A huge volume of extremely easy data. No images, no War & Peace length text posts. Just a lot of short, sweet, and simple text.

I want you to say with a straight face that it's really just the amazing volume of data that separates a highly reliable and available site like Facebook from a constantly failing jumped up IRC client like Twitter.

Twitter is a dog. And because it's written in Rails, it's a special needs dog that has to go to the vet a lot.

This is nonsense. (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906963)

The Twitter people have stated publicly that their technical problems are NOT due to Rails. You folks can claim that it is all you want, but that doesn't change the facts.

The problem isn't people obsessed with Rails... the problem here is people who just don't like it, for whatever reasons of their own. Well, your reasons *ARE* your own. Please keep them to yourselves unless you can start coming up with facts rather than unfounded insults.

Quote from Twitter representative: "I strongly believe that the best tool for the job is the best tool for the job. Rails is the best web application framework around for rapid prototyping and, as aforementioned, building CRUD-style applications. I would choose Rails again for such a project."

Twitter stated that they simply did not plan ahead for the popularity of their service. Period. That is not the fault of the platform they use.

Re:This is nonsense. (1, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907481)

Well, since we agree that the Twitter people are incompetent, why should their opinion matter? Maybe their love of Rails is the root of the whole problem, and they're just to wedded to the environment to see it.

I personally think it is part of the problem. Development/deployment frameworks add a non-trivial amount of overhead, which is something that cannot be spared on a high volume applications.

Aside from all that, I just love tormenting Ruby fanatics. They're as defensive and strident as any C geek, though, unlike the C geeks, Ruby/Rails people can't point to any performance increases to justify their fanaticism.

Re:This is nonsense. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907591)

Your being an anti-Ruby fanatic does not make someone who speaks reason a fanatic. Go look in a mirror.

Re:This is nonsense. (4, Funny)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907575)

CRUD-style applications

I think that says it all, right there.

Re:84 hours?!?! (2)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907101)

Your ad nauseum argument says nothing, but since some moronic people with mod points are out there I may as well respond.

You haven't said anything specific about rails. There's tons of successful rails deployments out there, just because twitter's engineers suck at what they do doesn't mean the tech they use is bad. Tell me WHY does rails suck? What part of it is causing all these problems?

Also, Twitter isn't just rails, from all accounts the problems they have are from other parts of their stack. Again, not the tech used there, but their inability to deploy and set it up properly.

Also, If you've ever read about the architecture of Facebook you'd realize it's an extremely complex application. It's not just a simple LAMP stack, there's all kinds of caching and queing, with large hadoop clusters etc. Facebook is a HARD PROBLEM with a complicated solution. Luckily for facebook, they engineered it correctly. Those same tools if used improperly would not work.

Furthermore, your assertion that the data is easy is wrong. EVERYTHING IS EASY FOR SMALL N. The problem isn't the content, it's the quantity of messages. You may as well have said a man who eats 1000000000 jelly beans did something far easier than a man who ate a large burrito.

In short, don't hate the tool, hate the guy who's not using it right. Also, if you're going to critique something, be knowledgable and specific about it, don't just say X sucks because it sucks. Your ad nauseum argument says nothing.

Re:84 hours?!?! (1, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907651)

I'd point out that your defense of rails is just as silly as the parent's attack. "Tons of successful rails deployments" adds exactly zero datapoints to the argument.

And I'm not going to accept the statement of the Twitter folks that they would use rails again as some kind of argument in favor: a) they've failed, so their decision-making record isn't stellar and b) obviously they're going to defend their decision, since saying "Oh, we screwed up" is practically unheard of these days.

This isn't a troll (really!) I'm just pointing out that I think you and the parent are not really having a productive discussion of the merits/demerits of rails. (Though what do I expect, this is /. after all) :-)

Re:84 hours?!?! (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907537)

A huge volume of easy data with zero content. Unless of course you're deeply concerned about tracking all of your friends' and relatives' bowel movements.

Re:84 hours?!?! (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906239)

holy shit, it's RoFLKOPTr

Taking advantage (0)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905677)

Yep, but
whitter.com
twerple.com
and drivel.com
got a hell of traffic during those hours

Re:Taking advantage (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905835)

aren't "twitter" and "drivel" synonyms. It sure seems that way.

That twitter is down so much is pure schadenfreude. The most obnoxious, in your face, viral marketers and sock puppeteers on the net. I only wish them continued failure. Hopefully the inane fad will pass soon, and they'll go the way of every other insubstantial, "latest thing" website.

Re:Taking advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906021)

That twitter is down so much is pure schadenfreude.

That word... I don't think it means what you think it means. Not unless you feel really guilty about being happy about this. It doesn't sound like you do. I think you grokked the denotation, but missed the connotation.

mod parent down (wrong) (2, Informative)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906425)

schadenfreude - taking delight in others' misfortune. Guilt doesn't enter into it, AC.

Does it make that much difference? (5, Insightful)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905681)

If Twitter was the worst, with 84 hours downtime, one year is 8765.81277 hours, which means that Twitter was down .958268243% of the time. Not .9 (90%), but .009 (nine tenths of one percent). IOW, it has an uptime of 99.05%. Sure, that's not great compared to 99.95%, but it was down less than 1 in every 100 times you tried to reach it. I'm pretty sure Yahoo! doesn't manage that, and I know Microsoft's download servers don't manage that...

Re:Does it make that much difference? (1)

myVarNamesAreTooLon (1474005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905759)

The thing is, saying "more than 84 hours, almost twice as much as any other site" sounds FAR worse for twitter (and they don't feel as silly writing it) than 99.05%

Re:Does it make that much difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906053)

meh - and the average user has THOUSANDS of tweets they've made successfully in 2008. So if you made 10,000 tweets in 08, that means you saw the failwhale 100 times, or almost once every three days. And that doesn't count the repeated times you TRIED to Tweet, and tried, and tried, but didn't register. 84 hours seems pretty tame compared to what I experienced, unless it was 84h per user.

Re:Does it make that much difference? (2, Funny)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906269)

Yep, but can you imagine the mental distress of those who can't post this tweet (is this a word ?) about the fact they are waiting at a red light ?

Re:Does it make that much difference? (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906457)

Yep, but can you imagine the mental distress of those who can't post this tweet (is this a word ?) about the fact they are waiting at a red light ?

What about the mental distress suffered by those of us who are anxiously waiting for tweets regarding the twitter repair status? How are we supposed to cope?

Re:Does it make that much difference? (1)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907113)

Exactly ! It is like having an internet problem, and not being to use internet to find a solution on how to fix the internet. Frustating !

But like some people suggested, create a Facebook group on the down status of Twitter, should solve your problem.

Re:Does it make that much difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906251)

Think business hours. 84 hours is two man-weeks for a desk-jockey.

Re:Does it make that much difference? (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906467)

If Twitter was the worst, with 84 hours downtime, one year is 8765.81277 hours, which means that Twitter was down .958268243% of the time. Not .9 (90%), but .009 (nine tenths of one percent). IOW, it has an uptime of 99.05%. Sure, that's not great compared to 99.95%, but it was down less than 1 in every 100 times you tried to reach it. I'm pretty sure Yahoo! doesn't manage that, and I know Microsoft's download servers don't manage that...

Good numerical point, but Yahoo hasn't failed to load for me any time in the last 10 years, with something like 10-50 page views per day. Their uptime is thus no worse than based 0.99997 on my experience, which is means 300x less downtime than twitter.

Re:Does it make that much difference? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906665)

If you drop to 98% availability...Jesus. It sounds good in a non-internet context, but the standard is 3 9's (99.9% uptime) at least. We're not talking 4 9's (99.99%, what you'd expect from your bank) here. We're talking about a site that's pushing 1 9. ONE. 98%!!!

If they were your webhost, they'd be fired. It's just not an acceptable performance number for a big modern site.

Re:Does it make that much difference? (2, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906863)

Frankly, I don't know how they did their measurements but Myspace gives me "an unexpected error occurred" often enough (and I only sign in when I get an e-mail notification of a new message or the like, to begin with) that it very much is expected.

Re:Does it make that much difference? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907039)

Unless the site is more likely to go down during busy times, which would mean that the 1% of downtime it does have would be when a greater percentage (maybe 10%?) are trying to reach it. That would turn 99% uptime into an effective 90% - 95% uptime for their users, which is considerably worse. Having 99% uptime is great, but if the downtime comes when you're the #1 link on digg or slashdot, that means you lose a hell of a lot more traffic than you would have otherwise.

and here I am... (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905701)

And here I am worrying about whether I should see my doctor after 4 hours of uptime.

We want Stephen Fry (1)

Caue (909322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905717)

Even if they had a 50-50 ratio, you still wouldn't miss out much.

Unless you want to know if Stephen Fry is baking a cake or having a tea with his friends

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (0, Troll)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905737)

WHO CARES? I mean really. A total waste of electrons, always has been, always will be.
Not News, much less News for Nerds. More like news for TURDS. See how it rhymes?

Re:Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906027)

Your post, however, was a great contribution to society and will be studied for years by future generations.

.....just not for the reasons you'd like.

Re:Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (3, Interesting)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906111)

Well, I don't care so much about the downtime.

However, your post shows extreme shortsightedness to what the people of this world are interested in. Yeah, Facebook, Twitter and the like *can* be extreme wastes of time. But, there is a reason that so many people are drawn to those sites. As engineers and "nerds," it would be interesting to not only know why (psychology playing a huge role in this), but what can be done to leverage technologies like these to actually provide something "worthwhile." (I put worthwhile in quotes as the worth of something is very relative.)

What may or may not be important to you is not what the populace as a whole agrees with. You're definitely entitled to your own opinion (and I will agree with you to some extent), but given the number of users of these sites, it's important to consider the bigger picture and implications.

Re:Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (2, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906477)

Yeah, Facebook, Twitter and the like *can* be extreme wastes of time. But, there is a reason that so many people are drawn to those sites.

I think there is some truth in that, but the reason why most people use these sites is peer pressure, purely and simply. It's just a fad for most people. It's just like a local bar or club becomes the in place to go to -- without any substance. Being the reason why there's a drift from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to the next thing.

Personally I can see absolutely no use for Facebook nor Twitter whatsoever. But now that the sparkly teenage girls have left MySpace for the next thing, MySpace is actually a useful site. If you are an artist of some sort, MySpace is a great tool for networking and showcasing your work. Facebook is worthless for that, since you have to become friends with someone to see their profile.

It could be that there are genuine core uses for Facebook and Twitter too -- though I cannot personally think of what they could be.

Re:Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906633)

You mean it's a fad like pretty much everything the human race has used for entertainment since the dawn of time? Or perhaps you're foolish enough to believe something like, say, Slashdot has some higher, more meaningful purpose.

Dismissing it as peer pressure makes about as much sense as abstinence education for teens. It simplifies a very complex phenomenon to the point of uselessness.

Re:Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906945)

It could be that there are genuine core uses for ... Twitter ... though I cannot personally think of what they could be.

It's baby IRC for text-tards.

Re:Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906977)

"What may or may not be important to you is not what the populace as a whole agrees with. You're definitely entitled to your own opinion (and I will agree with you to some extent), but given the number of users of these sites, it's important to consider the bigger picture and implications."

You mean that the world is populated by even higher numbers of idiots than we ever imagined?

I clicked.. (1)

jadin (65295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905791)

I clicked the story expecting to see users waste more hours on twitter than other social networks. That would've been more interesting. The story above is... just plain boring.

I tried to figure out how much money I lost (1)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905831)

as a result, but apparently you can't divide by zero.

Twitter doesn't work by design (4, Informative)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905937)

I think many of us recognize the potential power of twitter-like thingies. With this in mind I recently joined. It is beyond disappointing.

- the site itself is barren, with basically no features - it is just like a '98 site in a bad way (not in a "Google-like" minimalist way)
- can't get updates by SMS in Europe. OK, fair game, it isn't free. But you should be able to at least post by SMS, right? Somehow although they do offer local numbers (very nice) I wasn't able to actually verify any phone so can't update by SMS
- they had updates by Instant Messenger as official feature for a while but couldn't make it work (why?! at least it should be practically free for them unlike SMS)
- there are some 3rd party solutions to update by IM but none work (plus you have to trust the 3rd party)
- same as above for updates by email

So, yes, nice idea but poor execution.

Re:Twitter doesn't work by design (2, Informative)

dandv (1246510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906137)

- there are some 3rd party solutions to update by IM but none work (plus you have to trust the 3rd party)

The Pidgin Twitter plugin [google.com] works [twitter.com] .

Re:Twitter doesn't work by design (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906543)

I update it via identi.ca which I update via im. twitter is where most people are at that I communicate with so that is where my posts end up - but I don't ever go to the twitter site. It doesn't need to be more than it is.

Twitter is a cunt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26905951)

A cunt, and a $hithead.

Twitter Developer Alex Payne on Rails performance (5, Interesting)

dandv (1246510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906071)

In an interview with RadicalBehavior.com, Twitter lead developer Alex Payne commented [radicalbehavior.com] :

By various metrics Twitter is the biggest Rails site on the net right now. Running on Rails has forced us to deal with scaling issues - issues that any growing site eventually contends with - far sooner than I think we would on another framework. [...] At this point in time there's no facility in Rails to talk to more than one database at a time. [...] All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely punishing, performance-wise. Once you hit a certain threshold of traffic, either you need to strip out all the costly neat stuff that Rails does for you (RJS, ActiveRecord, ActiveSupport, etc.) or move the slow parts of your application out of Rails, or both. It's also worth mentioning that there shouldn't be doubt in anybody's mind at this point that Ruby itself is slow. [...] I think it's worth being frank that this isn't one of those relativistic language issues. Ruby is slow.

Re:Twitter Developer Alex Payne on Rails performan (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906501)

I mean wtf? This has been dubunked so many times.
After this announcement someone wrote a plugin for rails that handled multiple databases.
And you know, we had this huge ruby on rails application that never really took off. I would had really loved to have those performance issues they were describing.

Re:Twitter Developer Alex Payne on Rails performan (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906541)

Running on Rails has forced us to deal with scaling issues - issues that any growing site eventually contends with - far sooner than I think we would on another framework.

That is probably true. However, I would count that as an advantage -- better to deal with them sooner than later.

At this point in time there's no facility in Rails to talk to more than one database at a time.

There are many, many ways to talk to more than one database in Rails. In fact, it is possible to swap out the entire database layer of Rails and use another ORM, or no ORM at all. On the bleeding edge -- and Twitter might actually be a good candidate for this -- people have wired up Rails to CouchDB, which provides trivially scalable multimaster replication, and which, being HTTP, can be thrown behind any old load balancer -- which brings this back to a "just throw hardware at it" problem.

All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely punishing, performance-wise.

Some of them do -- a good example would be Symbol.to_proc.

However, Merb proves that this is not actually a Ruby problem, it is a Rails problem. And Rails and Merb are merging some point in the near future.

It's also worth mentioning that there shouldn't be doubt in anybody's mind at this point that Ruby itself is slow. [...] I think it's worth being frank that this isn't one of those relativistic language issues. Ruby is slow.

Somewhat true -- after all, Ruby 1.9.1 did double the performance of the language.

But, relative to what?

Turns out that, at least compared to other languages and frameworks (like PHP), Ruby is not slow [slideshare.net] .

It's also worth mentioning that while all of the Twitter alternatives may have enjoyed better uptime, they haven't had nearly the amount of traffic that Twitter does. We don't really know if they can scale -- but even supposing they can, Twitter was there first. And while they complain about those nice features being slow, they probably owe their success to those features for getting their product out the door faster than their competitors.

It's also worth mentioning that this interview is almost two years old. Rails changes a lot in two years. In fact, Twitter were early adopters -- two years before that interview, Rails had only just shared commit rights. Two years before that, it didn't exist at all.

It might be worth asking what version of Rails Twitter is using, and if they've noticed a change since then.

Re:Twitter Developer Alex Payne on Rails performan (0)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907093)

Actually, compared to PHP, it is slow. Alot of people benchmark PHP incorrectly. Everyone who knows anything about PHP knows it was built to be an Apache module and never to be used as a command line utility because it doesn't have a daemon; it doesn't run in the background like other languages, it starts up and shuts down after running each script.

This is why if you don't benchmark it as an Apache module (where it IS running as a daemon), it loses a second or two in the benchmark while it starts up its engine. Nuby developers love to quote this stat but are clueless in the fact that what they are quoting is completely wrong. If you were to benchmark the other languages the same way, you would have to shut their daemons off so the startup of their engines are taken into consideration with the benchmark as well.

Re:Twitter Developer Alex Payne on Rails performan (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907607)

Actually, compared to PHP, it is slow. Alot of people benchmark PHP incorrectly. Everyone who knows anything about PHP knows it was built to be an Apache module and never to be used as a command line utility because it doesn't have a daemon

Then you might be surprised by the benchmark I actually linked to. This was a measure in requests per second of a full Web application, not of something silly like fibbonacci.

Nuby developers love to quote this stat but are clueless in the fact that what they are quoting is completely wrong.

Once again: Look at the actual statistic I'm quoting. Are you suggesting this was CakePHP, run as a web app, benchmarked with a web benchmark, yet somehow run as a commandline app?

Re:Twitter Developer Alex Payne on Rails performan (3, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906667)

does this mean metalhed77 wants to punch Alex Payne in the face? [slashdot.org]

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906131)

Twitter takes no effort to make scale and keep up. There's NOTHING complex about it.

What do you expect exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906133)

High availability is expensive to attain. How much do you expect them to be investing to perfect this free service for you?

Re:What do you expect exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906191)

Well, I don't remember paying for Xanga, Myspace, or Facebook. (As I've never used imeem or Classmates.com, I can't comment on those.)

First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906155)

First!

Re:First! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906213)

Parent was, indeed, the first person to post "First!" — for what that's worth.

APIs (1)

tmarthal (998456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906201)

How do you break this down? Are they just pinging twitter.com and waiting for timeouts on html returned?

I ask, because lots of twitter is their distribution via their APIs. How many of those other moblog sites have http GETs to non-html documents? Check for yourself: http://apiwiki.twitter.com/ [twitter.com]

I wonder how many statuses were updated from facebook.com or pulled there from a twitter API poll. It would be nice if a site like facebook could post their timeouts on their user status polls they do from their site. That might give people more of an idea of the complete twitter uptime.

Re:APIs (1)

tmarthal (998456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906233)

God that made no sense. s/html/packets

"Are they just pinging twitter.com and waiting for packets over its default port returned?"

really? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906207)

Imeem sucks! It's like myspace but with worse code if you could imagine that. I would have expected them to be the lowest. If you actually count the amount of time some of their features didn't work, it's about 50% uptime.

My latest Tweet (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906305)

I'm now posting on /. about Twitter.
I live such a full life.

Based on what amounts of traffic? (1)

Xunker (6905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906341)

This is not all that meaningful unless you also completely correlate the uptime info with the number of users/requests/whatnot the site does.

The report doesn't explore that sufficiently enough for me. I can make an app that has 100% uptime if it has one request an hour. Downtime is largely caused (directly or indirectly) by load, so in most cases downtime usually increases as user load (defined as user interaction and amounts of user data, and the actions of those users on that data) increases.

Painting with a broad brush you could say, yes, Xanga has the best uptime but they also probably have the lowest user load as well whereas twitter probably has one of the highest (current) user loads and thus lowest downtime.

Possible explanation (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906381)

Maybe there is, somewhere in the world, guy who pays lots of $$$ to ISPs to 404 Twitter site as often as possible. If this is the case, that guy is really rich and his brain works in similar way as mine.

Re:Possible explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906389)

Well, except possibly that his brain figured out a way to make him really rich.

What is the uptime metric? (3, Insightful)

222 (551054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906513)

I no longer use Myspace (Thank god!) but it seemed like every time I tried to do something, I was redirected to an error page assuring me that their support staff would be notified...

Sure, Myspace was able to display html in my browser, but it seems a bit far fetched to consider that "uptime".

Does it really count? (1)

Phoenixhawk (1188721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906559)

Facebook and MySpace both have hours and hours of being simply unusable. You its just server maintenance, sometimes they even say as much. You can technically log into them but it turns into a brick from there. Can that honestly be called 99.5% Uptime?

Re:Does it really count? (1)

Phoenixhawk (1188721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906605)

Facebook and MySpace both have hours and hours of being simply unusable. You its just server maintenance, sometimes they even say as much. You can technically log into them but it turns into a brick from there. Can that honestly be called 99.5% Uptime?

Damn, I need learn to read before hitting the second posting button.

fu34 a Goat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26906613)

of prograaming [goat.cx]

Zomg stop with the twitter stories (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26906843)

Twitter is on par with Brangelina type stories. Find something more newsworthy to fill dead space with(!!) This is so frustrating.

My favorite social networking site never down (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907005)

The social non-networking site I use, isolatr.com [isolatr.com] , is never down, and has never failed to bring me zero annoying "friends". I highly recommend it.

Twitter's downtime (5, Funny)

teknognome (910243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907109)

While I don't use twitter, it's downtime is bad enough (or people are obsessed enough) that not only is there IsTwitterDown.com [istwitterdown.com] but also IsIsTwitterDownDown.com [isistwitterdowndown.com]

Twitter client on iPhone (1)

greyline (1052440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907155)

What are the best Twitter apps for the iPhone? What app do you use and why?

"Hey its Ruby" "works better after getting fixed" (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907317)

these were what some people were saying in slashdot back a while ago about twitter, ruby and whatnot.

use the source (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907379)

Don't like Twitter's downtime? roll your own [laconi.ca] and do better.

(But honestly, I still don't see what all the hype about Twitter is. It's just a mashup between instant messaging and RSS from what I can tell, not sure why there needs to be a "service" wrapped around it.)

Yay fail whale (2, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907435)

One of the most amusing error messages ever 3 Where the hell did it come from? Why is it flying with birds? What the fuck is this shit? Who knows! It's fail whale!

Architecture? (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907505)

We know Twitters architectural history, but anyone have a summary of the three big sites with the higher uptime? (Server-side of course). Commonalities would mean a lot I'd think.

Sorry, I'm old and lazy or else I'd look it up myself.

The Real Tragdey (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907527)

...are people who died from Twitter Recursive Downtime Syndrome (TRDS). More or less when Twitter goes down, they want to tweet about Twitter being down, when they realized how that makes them feel they want to tweet that, after about the third or fourth round of that, well it isn't pretty [asplode.net] .
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