Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Manhattan, our real-time, multi-tenant distributed database for Twitter scale

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As Twitter has grown into a global platform for public self-expression and conversation, our storage requirements have grown too. Over the last few years, we found ourselves in need of a storage system that could serve millions of queries per second, with extremely low latency in a real-time environment. Availability and speed of the system became the utmost important factor. Not only did it need to be fast; it needed to be scalable across several regions around the world.

Over the years, we have used and made significant contributions to many open source databases. But we found that the real-time nature of Twitter demanded lower latency than the existing open source products were offering. We were spending far too much time firefighting production systems to meet the performance expectations of our various products, and standing up new storage capacity for a use case involved too much manual work and process. Our experience developing and operating production storage at Twitter’s scale made it clear that the situation was simply not sustainable. So we began to scope out and build Twitter’s next generation distributed database, which we call Manhattan. We needed it to take into account our existing needs, as well as put us in a position to leapfrog what exists today.

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