I followed this delicious link from Stephen about kilt and performance maven Ben Rockwood giving props to Ian Murdock. I am glad Murdock passed the sporran test but I came away with a completely different take on the post.
It turns out Bryan Cantrill has been involved in some behind the scenes scaling work at Joyent, which is hosting Twitter.
According to Ben (here comes the good bit):
“In a really wonderful move, today Jason Hoffman and I from Joyent, with Ian Murdock and Bryan Cantrill from Sun, met with Jeremy LaTrasse of Obvious who run Twitter on Joyent Accelerator’s (OpenSolaris Containers). The purpose was to sit down and really analyze performance in Ruby, Rails, and Mongrel to find big performance wins and better improve scalability of the biggest Ruby on Rails application known to exist. The meeting was a great success in a variety of ways, but I’ll avoid divulging technical details that might get me in trouble… needless to say, Bryan Cantrill is the man.”
Who is Brian? He is just some fast-talking, Economist obituary reading, dumbass who happens to be the guy behind DTrace, one of the most powerful instrumentation, performance optimisation and troubleshooting platforms ever developed, period. DTrace is one of the reasons Solaris is back in the game. When the Wall Street Journal starts giving props to an instrumentation technology you know its some serious business.
Mucho respect to David Heinemeier Hannson but Cantrill is a different breed. He is really really deep into performance. As Ryan points out frameworks don’t solve scalability problems, design solves scalability problems. Which is where Cantrill comes in.
Maybe I put too much faith in Bryan but I expect Twitter to have plenty more headroom in the near future. If he can’t help work it out we’re all screwed.
Finally it strikes me we may be about to see something entirely new in the industry. Twitter is emerging as a core lightweight Web infrastructure but unlike earlier Web companies isn’t buying and building out its own infrastructure. Twitter is a hosted architecture of participation. Unlike first web wave companies, Google as poster child, this is On Demand purchasing.
disclosure: I am a Twitter user. Sun is a client. Stephen and me are unabashed Cantrill fanboys.