Scaling Pulse to 11M Users

Posted February 16th, 2012 in Pulse and tagged , , , , by Greg Bayer

As part of Pulse’s recent announcement of crossing the 11M user mark (up 10x since last year!), we’ve written a set of blog posts to share how we’ve scaled our backend infrastructure to keep up with our new users and support some powerful new features. Here’s a quick recap of our systems on both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google App Engine (GAE), along with links to the detailed posts describing each.

AWS has been a great platform for building systems as close to the metal as we need to, while still avoiding the burden and inelasticity of owning the hardware. At Pulse we use AWS extensively for event logging, data analytics, curating top story feeds, recommendations, monitoring, etc. Check out Scaling to 10M on AWS on the Pulse Engineering Blog and Pulse – Using Big Data Analytics to Drive Rich User Features on the official AWS blog to learn about these systems in more detail.

In addition to our infrastucture on AWS, we’ve built a very scalable serving infrastucture on GAE. This infrastructure makes it possible for us to improve the mobile reading experience of millions of users by serving extremely optimized content, usually in under 100ms. It also hosts our web app and the API that allows users to sync sources, save stories, update their profiles, and share stories with shortened urls.

Leveraging and combining the strengths of these two platforms (and the systems we’ve built on them) allow us to provide the best possible experience to all of our current users and continues to enable us to scale rapidly in support of our continuing growth. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to me on twitter. If you’re in the SF bay area, I’m always up for a coffee and a chat about scalable architectures.