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Does searching through Twitter suddenly feel faster to you? It should. According to Twitter, the microblogging site's integrated search engine is now 3x faster than it used to be. Twitter has actually been working to improve search performance since the spring of 2010 and launched a real-time search engine in October of last year. Last week, Twitter says it launched a replacement for its Ruby-on-Rails front-end, a Java server it's calling "Blender," and that's the reason for the performance gain.
"Twitter search is one of the most heavily-trafficked search engines in the world, serving over one billion queries per day," Twitter stated in a blog post. "The week before we deployed Blender, the #tsunami in Japan contributed to a significant increase in query load and a related spike in search latencies. 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 goes on to explain its improved search architecture in great detail, while pointing out the inefficiencies of its former Ruby-on-Rails front-end servers. If that's the stuff that floats your boat, you can get all the geeky details right here.