Named "Murder" after the collective noun used to describe a group of crows (I guess "Gaggle," "Flock" or any other bird plural didn't sound as nice), this part-Python, part-Ruby tool allows lighting fast code deployments across large groups of servers. Twitter engineer Larry Gadea says it took what once was a 40 minute deploy and shortened it just 12 seconds - an impressive feat, no doubt.
So how did Twitter accomplish this?
Murder is built on top of BitTornado, a version of BitTorrent modified to include advanced functionality. Gadea says they have tweaked the app to better function in the unique environment that exists in a datacenter, including "low-latency access to servers, high bandwidth, no NAT/Firewall issues, no ISP traffic shaping, only trusted peers, etc."
By integrating this tool with their existing deployment app, Capistrano, Twitter was able to shorten code deployments by 99.5%. Anyone can checkout Murder on GitHub right now and start thinking of ways to use it with their servers. It is important for young companies - not just those with several servers - to think about scalability before it becomes an issue. Projects like Murder are making that process much easier for first time entrepreneurs and system administrators.
Photo by Flickr user rebeccakoconnor.