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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

How Urban Airship Scaled to 2.5 Billion Notifications During the U.S. Election

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 17:56

This is a guest post by Urban Airship. Contributors: Adam Lowry, Sean Moran, Mike Herrick, Lisa Orr, Todd Johnson, Christine Ciandrini, Ashish Warty, Nick Adlard, Mele Sax-Barnett, Niall Kelly, Graham Forest, and Gavin McQuillan

Urban Airship is trusted by thousands of businesses looking to grow with mobile. Urban Airship is a seven year old SaaS company and has a freemium business model so you can try it for free. For more information, visit Urban Airship now averages more than one billion push notifications delivered daily. This post highlights Urban Airship notification usage for the 2016 U.S. election, exploring the architecture of the system--the Core Delivery Pipeline--that delivers billions of real-time notifications for news publishers.

2016 U.S. Election

In the 24 hours surrounding Election Day, Urban Airship delivered 2.5 billion notifications—its highest daily volume ever. This is equivalent to 8 notification per person in the United States or 1 notification for every active smartphone in the world. While Urban Airship powers more than 45,000 apps across every industry vertical, analysis of the election usage data shows that more than 400 media apps were responsible for 60% of this record volume, sending 1.5 billion notifications in a single day as election results were tracked and reported.


Notification volume was steady and peaked when the presidential election concluded:

Categories: Architecture

Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For November 11th, 2016

Fri, 11/11/2016 - 17:56

Hey, it's HighScalability time:


Hacking recognition systems with fashion.


If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.
  • 9 teraflops: PC GPU performance for VR rendering; 1.75 million requests per second: DDoS attack from cameras; 5GB/mo: average data consumption in the US; ~59.2GB: size of Wikipedia corpus; 50%: slower LTE within the last year; 5.4 million: entries in Microsoft Concept Graph; 20 microseconds: average round-trip latencies between 250,000 machines using direct FPGA-to-FPGA messages (Microsoft); 1.09 billion: Facebook daily active mobile users; 300 minutes: soaring time for an AI controlled glider; 82ms: latency streaming game play on Azure; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • AORTA: Apple’s service revenue is now consistently greater than iPad and Mac revenue streams making it the number two revenue stream behind the gargantuan iPhone bucket.
    • @GeertHub: Apple R&D budget: $10 billion NASA science budget: $5 billion One explored Pluto, the other made a new keyboard.
    • Steve Jobs: tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem
    • @moxie: I think these types of posts are also the inevitable result of people overestimating our organizational capacity based on whatever limited success Signal and Signal Protocol have had. It could be that the author imagines me sitting in a glass skyscraper all day, drinking out of champagne flutes, watching over an enormous engineering team as they add support for animated GIF search as an explicit fuck you to people with serious needs.
    • @jdegoes: Devs don't REALLY hate abstraction—they hate obfuscation. Abstraction discards irrelevant details, retaining an essence governed by laws.
    • @ewolff: There are no stateless applications. It just means state is on the client or in the database.
    • @mjpt777: Pushing simple logic down into the memory controllers is the only way to overcome the bandwidth bottleneck. I'm glad to see it begin.
    • @gigastacey: Moral of @0xcharlie car hacking talk appears to be don't put actuators on the internet w/out thinking about security. #ARMTechCon
    • @markcallaghan: When does MySQL become too slow for analytics? Great topic, maybe hard to define but IO-bound index nested loops join isn't fast.
    • @iAnimeshS: A year's computing on the old Macintosh portable can now be processed in just 5 seconds on the #NewMacBookPro. #AppleEvent
    • @neil_conway: OH: "My philosophy for writing C++ is the same as for using Git: 'I stay in my damn lane.'"
    • qnovo: Yet as big as this figure sounds, and it is big, only 3 gallons of gasoline (11 liters) pack the same amount of energy. Whereas the Tesla battery weighs about 1300 lbs (590 kg), 3 gallons of gasoline weigh a mere 18 lbs (8 kg). This illustrates the concept of energy density: a lithium-ion battery is 74X less dense than gasoline.
    • @kelseyhightower: I'm willing to bet developers spend more time reverse engineering inadequate API documentation than implementing business logic.
    • @sgmansfield: OH: our ci server continues to run out of inodes because each web site uses ~140,000 files in node_modules
    • @relix42: “We use maven to download half the internet and npm to get the other half…”
    • NEIL IRWIN: economic expansions do not die of old age—an old expansion like our current one is not likelier to enter a recession in the next year than a young expansion.
    • @popey: I am in 6 slack channels. 1.5GB RAM consumed by the desktop app. In 100+ IRC channels. 25MB consumed by irssi. The future is rubbish.
    • @SwiftOnSecurity: The only way to improve the security of these IoT devices is market forces. They must not be allowed to profit without fear of repercussions
    • The Ancient One: you think you know how the world works. What if I told you, through the mystic arts, we harness energy and shape reality?
    • @natpryce: "If you have four groups working on a compiler*, you'll get a four-pass compiler" *and you describe the problem in terms of passes
    • @PatrickMcFadin: Free cloud APIs are closing up as investors start looking for a return. Codebender is closing down 
    • We have quotes n the likes of which even god has never seen. Read the full article to them all.

  • The true program is the programmer. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The true poem is the poet's mind; the true ship is the ship-builder. In the man, could we lay him open, we should see the reason for the last flourish and tendril of his work; as every spine and tint in the sea-shell preexist in the secreting organs of the fish.”

  • Who would have thought something like this was possible? A Regex that only matches itself. As regexes go it's not even all that weird looking. One of the comments asks for a proof of why it works. That would be interesting.

  • Docker in Production: A History of Failure. Generated a lot of heat and some light. Good comments on HN and on reddit and on reddit. A lot of the comments say yes, there a problems with Docker, but end up saying something like...tzaman: That's odd, we've been using Docker for about a year in development and half a year in production (on Google Container engine / Kubernetes) and haven't experienced any of the panics, crashes yet (at least not any we could not attribute as a failure on our end).

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

Categories: Architecture

Sponsored Post: Loupe, New York Times, ScaleArc, Aerospike, Scalyr, Gusto, VividCortex, MemSQL, InMemory.Net, Zohocorp

Tue, 11/08/2016 - 18:48

Who's Hiring?
  • The New York Times is looking for a Software Engineer for its Delivery/Site Reliability Engineering team. You will also be a part of a team responsible for building the tools that ensure that the various systems at The New York Times continue to operate in a reliable and efficient manner. Some of the tech we use: Go, Ruby, Bash, AWS, GCP, Terraform, Packer, Docker, Kubernetes, Vault, Consul, Jenkins, Drone. Please send resumes to:

  • IT Security Engineering. At Gusto we are on a mission to create a world where work empowers a better life. As Gusto's IT Security Engineer you'll shape the future of IT security and compliance. We're looking for a strong IT technical lead to manage security audits and write and implement controls. You'll also focus on our employee, network, and endpoint posture. As Gusto's first IT Security Engineer, you will be able to build the security organization with direct impact to protecting PII and ePHI. Read more and apply here.
Fun and Informative Events
  • Your event here!
Cool Products and Services
  • A note for .NET developers: You know the pain of troubleshooting errors with limited time, limited information, and limited tools. Log management, exception tracking, and monitoring solutions can help, but many of them treat the .NET platform as an afterthought. You should learn about Loupe...Loupe is a .NET logging and monitoring solution made for the .NET platform from day one. It helps you find and fix problems fast by tracking performance metrics, capturing errors in your .NET software, identifying which errors are causing the greatest impact, and pinpointing root causes. Learn more and try it free today.

  • ScaleArc's database load balancing software empowers you to “upgrade your apps” to consumer grade – the never down, always fast experience you get on Google or Amazon. Plus you need the ability to scale easily and anywhere. Find out how ScaleArc has helped companies like yours save thousands, even millions of dollars and valuable resources by eliminating downtime and avoiding app changes to scale. 

  • Scalyr is a lightning-fast log management and operational data platform.  It's a tool (actually, multiple tools) that your entire team will love.  Get visibility into your production issues without juggling multiple tabs and different services -- all of your logs, server metrics and alerts are in your browser and at your fingertips. .  Loved and used by teams at Codecademy, ReturnPath, Grab, and InsideSales. Learn more today or see why Scalyr is a great alternative to Splunk.

  • InMemory.Net provides a Dot Net native in memory database for analysing large amounts of data. It runs natively on .Net, and provides a native .Net, COM & ODBC apis for integration. It also has an easy to use language for importing data, and supports standard SQL for querying data. http://InMemory.Net

  • VividCortex measures your database servers’ work (queries), not just global counters. If you’re not monitoring query performance at a deep level, you’re missing opportunities to boost availability, turbocharge performance, ship better code faster, and ultimately delight more customers. VividCortex is a next-generation SaaS platform that helps you find and eliminate database performance problems at scale.

  • MemSQL provides a distributed in-memory database for high value data. It's designed to handle extreme data ingest and store the data for real-time, streaming and historical analysis using SQL. MemSQL also cost effectively supports both application and ad-hoc queries concurrently across all data. Start a free 30 day trial here:

  • ManageEngine Applications Manager : Monitor physical, virtual and Cloud Applications.

  • : Monitor End User Experience from a global monitoring network. 

If any of these items interest you there's a full description of each sponsor below...

Categories: Architecture

The QuickBooks Platform

Mon, 11/07/2016 - 17:56

This is a guest post by Siddharth Ram – Chief Architect, Small Business.

The QuickBooks ecosystem is the largest small business SaaS product. The QuickBooks Platform supports bookkeeping, payroll and payment solutions for small businesses, their customers and accountants worldwide. Since QuickBooks is also a compliance & tax filing platform, consistency in reporting is extremely important.. Financial reporting requires flexibility in queries – a given report may have dozens of different dimensions that can be tweaked. Collaboration requires multiple edits by employees, Accountants and Business owners at the same time, leading to potential conflicts. All this leads to solving interesting scaling problems at Intuit.

Solving for scalability requires thinking on multiple time horizons and axes. Scaling is not just about scaling software – it is also about people scalability, process scalability and culture scalability. All these axes are actively worked on at Intuit. Our goal with employees is to create an atmosphere that allows them to do the best work of their lives.

Categories: Architecture