Hacking the Pachyderm: Scaling Servers and People

Philly Emerging Tech Conference Philadelphia, PA

Let’s set the stage, shall we? First, we have the starting cast: Kris Nova, Quintessence, and the plucky but nascent beginnings of the Hachyderm community. Then we have the stage: The Watertower, home of the beloved motly crew of Nova’s animaniac named servers, nestled lovingly in the basement. Next, we have the Hachyderm infrastructure team. Myself, Dominic, Malte, and Tani.

And then, well, we have the problem.

Cast your mind back to November of 2022. Twitter’s on fire, and Hachyderm has grown from its small 700 users to a roaring 30,000 users in one month. Now, not only is Twiter on fire, but the Watertower is too.

Woe! Tragedy! How do we handle this?! We didn’t see it coming, and had no time to prepare, but now we’re in the thick of it, but we won’t despair.

In this talk, I’m going to go over how we handled this, the decisions we made, the limitations we faced, and the friendships we found in each other.

We migrated a complicated distributed system across the Atlantic Ocean. One that was growing in real time. We did so while dealing with multiple types of failures and suffered zero data loss and we kept the trust of our beloved community by not letting them down.

Not only that, but nobody burned out, nobody was unduly stressed or overworked, and we all came out stronger and more prepared than ever. Come along with me on this journey and I’ll take you through the how’s, the almost’s, the could’ve’s, and the might’ve been’s.

Together we’ll relive the race against Time and the battle against the very fabric of Systemic Chaos itself.