February 08, 2008

AssetBar Proposes Solution to Twitter Scaling Problem

While I've previously talked about AssetBar's capabilities as a next-generation social RSS feed reader, expected to open to the public soon, the secret sauce behind AssetBar's efforts is a distributed database system that eliminates a lot of the issues with traditional SQL or relational database environments. Their differentiated approach to the database means AssetBar is highly extensible, with futures not only in RSS feeds, but corporate intranets, Web office, and maybe... as a solution to popular services, like Twitter, who can't seem to stop going down.

As services on SQL databases, like Twitter, strain under dramatic growth in terms of users or activities, users can see downtime. And as AssetBar states in a post this morning, where its proposed they could act as a Twitter proxy, you could enter your Twitter credentials on their site, on their database, and it would interact with Twitter just as if you were on Twitter, but without being impacted by outages. If Twitter was down, your "tweets" would remain in queue, not blocked, as is the case today.

So what's the issue causing downtime in the first place?

AssetBar claims that as popular users like Jason Calacanis and Robert Scoble have gained more than 6,500 followers, and follow 6,500 folks, that means every single tweet is written and rewritten thousands and thousands of times. And just imagine if they're talking to each other. Double the problem. And writes are harder than reads. While it's just a 140 character message going out on the wire, multiply that by 6,500, and you're talking almost a million characters going somewhere. Assuming 300 words in a double-spaced Microsoft Word document, a well-populated tweet would have about 3,000 pages of impact, or reading the fabled monolith novel War and Peace more than two times.

But AssetBar says they have a smarter approach, using their database. They write, "It so happens that our new distributed database technology is rather well suited for twitter-style high-volume reliable messaging. "

Would they try to compete with Twitter? No way. They say "Twitter is the new mail", and it is now mission critical for many people. They want to solve the downtime issues, for the community.

Maybe they're on to something. Check out their full post, "Twitter-proxy: Any Interest?", and provide them feedback as to whether you think they should get in the ballgame and help Twitter-holics out. They would first look to the community's blessing, and get a nod from Team Twitter, before moving forward. But if their database is as unique and strong as they say it is, it could get real interesting real soon.