Twitter Warns of More Outages amid World Cup Excitement

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-06-16

The Twitter outages that have plagued the microblog service for hours at a time could last into July, as Twitter engineers have discovered more issues that could trigger downtime, the company said June 15.

Twitter has suffered roughly 5 hours of downtime in June thus far. People haven't seen the famous Fail Whale so much since October 2009, when Twitter went kaput for 5 hours and 16 minutes, according to Pingdom.

The Twitter Website-based service, which allows users to post 140-character messages for followers to read, has suffered several site availability issues since June 8, the first time a major problem was reported since May 19.

Twitter tinkered June 9, turning off Twitter Search, Hovercards, trends, friend counts and profile image uploads. The worst outage began June 14: Twitter was out from Monday evening into Tuesday morning due to a failure in its timeline caching.

Don't blame rollouts of new features, such as Twitter Places, for the outages. Twitter's status blog said it put high-bandwidth components on the same segment of its internal network, which wasn't being appropriately monitored.

Moreover, the internal network was temporarily misconfigured. And Twitter discovered other issues that caused inadvertent downtime as a result of changes made by the company.

"We have long-term solutions that we are working towards, but in the meantime, we are making real-time adjustments so that we can grow our capacity and avoid outages during the World Cup," wrote Twitter spokesperson Sean Garrett.  

Garrett continued, "However, we were well aware of the likely impact of the World Cup. What we didn't anticipate was some of the complexities that have been inherent in fixing and optimizing our systems before and during the event."

To be fair, Twitter warned users June 11 that it would be a tough few weeks as it works to make the Website more stable during peak traffic. The commencement of the World Cup soccer bonanza compounded the issue.

Garrett said Twitter engineers may perform "relatively short planned maintenance on the site" over the next two weeks, which means the service will be taken down during those times. However, he promised there would be advance notice of the work and that it won't be conducted during World Cup games.

That could give Twitter's 190 million users time to check out Google Buzz, or share more with their friends on Facebook. Some are even asking whether the world needs another Twitter.

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