Storify and Joyent: Taking News to New Heights

February 28, 2013 - by rachelbalik

If a political protest explodes in a major metropolitan area, but nobody tweets about it, did it really happen? These days, we don’t get the chance to ask that question, because let’s be honest, when was the last time anything happened and nobody tweeted about it?

This is a trend that our customer, Storify, has used to change the way we consume news. users organize all the material that people put on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram and turn it into stories, which are then published in media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN as well as on the web sites of information sources such as White House, the United Nations, various embassies, and the U.S. Department of State. Twenty-two of the top 25 U.S. news sites use Storify, as do many leading international publications.

Of course, getting to that point wasn’t easy. As is often the case, the site’s growing popularity proved to be both a boon and a challenge. As Storify acquired more users and saw better distribution, it became apparent that scaling and reliability would be issues. The 2012 French elections caused a bottleneck and made it glaringly apparent that the Storify site’s load balancers, which were limited to 5,000 concurrent connections, would not be capable of managing traffic bursts.

The consequences of the bottleneck were dramatic: links for stories were live but when people clicked on them, they found that the pages were down. It was a wake up call for Storify, who was using a different cloud infrastructure provider at the time. They recognized that they had two options: they had to either rearchitect for better performance with their current provider, or find another.

They decided to go with option B. As current Node.js users, Joyent was an obvious choice. When the Storify team evaluated further, they found that when it came to functionality such as automatic CPU bursting, faster disk and memory I/O, full VNIC control, and advanced file management, Joyent addressed Storify’s requirement for high performance and reliability.

Another one of the biggest advantages of Joyent was customer service, and the assistance we offered with the migration - always the most challenge aspect of switching cloud providers. Xavier Damman, Storify co-founder and CEO, was impressed with how much time and manpower Joyent put in at the beginning of their implementation. He called the work that Joyent did “intense” and said it gave him confidence not just in the migration, but also in the customer service relationship with Joyent.

After switching to Joyent, Storify was able to triple its users and its infrastructure is no longer an impediment to growth. The Storify mission is to connect humans to events and ensure that the broadest range of perspectives are expressed. With Joyent, there is no limit to how many voices they can capture or how many readers can experience a story.