Elon Musk And >1000 Poorly Batched RPCs

Twitter, a Twitter debate, and a window into microservices

Source: Alex Xu, diagram adapted from an Elon Musk tweet and included here https://blog.bytebytego.com/p/twitter-architecture-2022-vs-2012
Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdBtNQZH8a4

Musk tweeted on Monday that he was “turning off the ‘microservices’ bloatware.” He said that less than 20% of the company’s microservices were needed for Twitter to work.

The Washington Post reporter Joseph Menn tweeted that Twitter’s two-factor authentication system seemed to have been affected by this

Once it’s behind an API, it’s easy to just set it and forget it. The reality is, I see companies with thousands of microservices when they probably should have had five. It can definitely be overdone, but a spectrum is the way I think of it…

These sorts of architecture decisions are hard to undo at a moment’s notice. They tend to be pretty deep issues. Part of the benefit of microservices is things are separated physically, often running on different servers and separated by an API. Those APIs definitely have performance implications.

To undo it really requires deep thinking on, “Does that mean we shut off entire services, because we didn’t need them after all?”
— -https://www.informationweek.com/strategic-cio/what-happens-if-microservices-vanish-for-better-or-for-worse

They were, it appears, correct to have concerns. It’s unclear what of this “bloatware” was altered during the day, but users began to report that, after logging out, they were unable to log back in again.

The problem affected users who have set up two-factor authentication, an extra step at login to make your account more secure. Users (who are also greeted with the two-factor authentication check when changing other Twitter settings) reported that they were not sent a code, making them unable to log in.



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Evan SooHoo

A software engineer who writes about software engineering. Shocking, I know.