Like Google and Facebook, Twitter Designs Its Own Computer Servers

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Like Google and Facebook, Twitter Designs Its Own Computer Servers

 Post by WIRED

STORY twitter server

For instance, Twitter recently fashioned a new type of machine for its AI system, which is based on “neural networks”—networks of machines that mimic the web of neurons in the human brain. These systems includes scads of graphics processing units, or GPUs, which are particularly adept at running neural nets.

The New Breed

Google and Twitter aren’t the only ones. Following Google’s lead, many companies are now moving away from the beefy, expensive machines of the past. According to Jason Waxman, who oversees the cloud infrastructure group at Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, about 15 percent of data center machines are now this new breed of streamlined system—“some sort of optimized, scale-based server.” Among companies that run Google-style cloud computing services, he says, that number jumps to 60 percent.

This is not to say that all these companies are designing their own machines. After building its own streamlined servers, Facebook open sourced its designs, sharing them with the world at large. This forced a shift in the worldwide hardware market. Dell and HP and other hardware vendors now sell machines based on Facebook’s designs. What this means that businesses can use Google-like servers without designing their own.

Some have questioned how many companies really need this new breed. But Twitter’s servers are yet another sign that the market is shifting. This makes life more difficult for the HPs and the Dells. Even if they can sell machines for use inside modern web services, their margins take a hit. But they don’t have much choice but to get into the market. The Internet demands what it demands.

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