Large scale web-services such as Twitter need thousands of servers to manage the flow of updates that are sent out by their millions of users. As a result, keeping all these servers updated with the latest data can be time and resource intensive.
To improve the deployment of files across their servers, Twitter is calling in the help of BitTorrent. With BitTorrent, Twitter is planning to distribute files faster and more efficiently, saving time and precious resources and improving the scalability of Twitter’s operation.
Twitter’s new project, codenamed ‘Murder’, will not use the bandwidth of Twitter users. Instead, it will transform the site’s servers into a large BitTorrent swarm that will distribute file updates using BitTorrent technology.
The setup is pretty straightforward. Murder uses a ‘seeder’ server where the new files will be distributed to thousands of ‘peer’ servers.
Because all servers assist in the deployment of the files, it will only take a fraction of the time it would otherwise take when files are distributed from a central server. This server-to-server BitTorrent technology also explains the name ‘Murder’ which is used to describe a flock of crows.
The Murder project is developed by Twitter’s Larry Gadea and built based on the BitTornado BitTorrent client, which was the first client to implement web-seeding. The code is open to the public and licensed under the free software Apache License.
Eric Klinker, CEO of BitTorrent Inc. is excited about Twitter’s adoption of BitTorrent. “We are thrilled to collaborate with them on this and hope that more Web Monsters out there look to this and other applications of BitTorrent in solving some of the hard problems of the Internet,” he said.
“The distributed nature of BitTorrent means an operation that once took many dozens of minutes, now happens in less than a dozen seconds. These efficiencies will reduce maintenance windows, site downtime and exposure to security vulnerabilities,” Klinker added. Although Klinker speaks about “collaboration” with Twitter it is not clear what role BitTorrent Inc. will play in the Murder project.
At this point it is still unclear when Murder will be implemented or released to the public but Twitter is expected to release more details on the upcoming project in the weeks to come.