Twitter Improves Its Search Using the 'Blender'

By Tracey E. Schelmetic April 07, 2011

Microblogging site Twitter has vastly improved search speed using a Java server called Blender, the company announced on the Twitter Engineering blog today. Early last year, the search team at Twitter began an effort to rewrite its search engine in order to serve its ever-growing traffic, improve the end-user latency and availability of the service, and enable rapid development of new search features, said the company.

The change, reports Mashable, has reduced search latencies by approximately three times (from 800ms to 250ms), Twitter has claimed, and CPU load on Twitter's front-end servers was cut in half.

The advantage of Twitter's new search architecture was starkly illustrated in a real-life example with the spike in Twitter search queries after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, which significantly increased search latencies.

Noted Twitter engineers, “Following the launch of Blender, our 95th percentile latencies were reduced by 3x from 800ms to 250ms and CPU load on our front-end servers was cut in half. We now have the capacity to serve 10x the number of requests per machine. This means we can support the same number of requests with fewer servers, reducing our front-end service costs by an order-of-magnitude.”

Twitter search is one of the most heavily-trafficked search engines in the world, serving over one billion queries per day. For the end users, Twitter's search engine, which serves more than 1 billion queries per day, will work much faster, with the dreaded “fail whale” making fewer appearances, said Mashable.

For a detailed explanation of how the new Blender works, check out Twitter's engineering blog here.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

TechZone360 Contributor

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