The sheer scale of Twitter is amazing: 2.8-billion tweets a day works out to about 5,000 tweets a second. Each tweet of 140 characters (or about 200 bytes) has to be sent, recorded, and retransmitted to up to 20 million followers in less time than it took you to read this paragraph.
So, how does Twitter do it? With Linux and open-source software.
Chris Aniszczyk, Twitter’s open-source manager and a leading Eclipse developer, offered a detailed explanation of how Twitter tweets at LinuxCon, the Linux Foundation’s annual North American technology conference, and the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference.
“On the surface, Twitter is a simple real time service where the unit currency is 140 character messages called Tweets. However, if you look underneath the surface, there are over 2.8 billion tweets being sent out a day at an average steady state of 5,000 Tweets a second,” Aniszczyk says. “At this scale, you have to deal with some interesting real time engineering problems.”