As several news articles made clear yesterday, Twitter depends on NTT for hosting its website. They have only been with NTT for about a year now; the move there was announced in february of last year.

While the move was part of their efforts to make their service more reliable, yesterday’s maintenance issue shows that sooner or later this will cause them problems. There are reports that the State Department contacted NTT to keep Twitter online because its important role for the protesters in Iran; if they hadn’t stepped in there would have been a chance that the site had been taken offline temporarily due to maintenance by NTT.

If they take control of their hosting, and get their own IP address space, they are more flexible in choosing transit providers that route their traffic over the internet, thus making them less dependent on a single supplier. On the other hand, it would require a team of skilled people to keep their network running, and NTT appears to be well-connected as shown in this screenshot from BGPlay. And it’s more stable than Iran’s internet connection 😉

bgplay_ntt

What do you think? Is Twitter important enough for the world to need multiple upstreams, multiple data centers, and all the other things needed to remove single points of failure in their infrastructure, or are the occasional fail whale and complete service outages just a normal part of the Twitter experience? And if a better infrastructure is needed, should Twiter pay for it, or should they be sponsored by civil rights organizations?