Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Reliability of Go

As part of the Canonical Cloud Sprint taking place in San Francisco last week I attended Dave Cheney's talk at the GoSF meetup on the porting and extension of juju. Juju is an open-source cloud management and service orchestration tool that if you haven't heard of yet, you soon will have.

After the talk an audience member asked if Go was reliable. Having used Go in production for coming up to three years now, without incident, this came as a bit of a surprise to me. Prior to moving to Canonical I worked for one of the UK's largest market makers. A market maker is basically a wholesaler for institutional share traders and stock brokers. During my time there I replaced several key systems components with Go.

System monitoring.
The services within the system were monitored by a python script, pinging each node, discovering services, connecting the networking dots, checking health etc. Due to the complex nature of the system this script could take up to three minutes to scan nodes and process the results. The script would often stall whilst processing the vast amounts of data produced. After porting the script to Go the runtime was reduced to under one second, and we never saw a single stall when processing.

Data store.
A legacy relational database was replaced with a Go based key/value store to remove bottlenecks at market open. This service is now the key piece of architecture in the system, processing all inbound and outbound quotes/orders to and from the London Stock Exchange, the Multi-lateral Trading Facilities, and key exchanges across Europe. This service processes instructions at an average of 7 microseconds (actually, 6 under Go1.1), and never once failed, even at peaks, processing tens of thousands of instructions per second. Go is currently providing key infrastructure components within the finance industry.

As I left my old position I was in the process of swapping the messaging middleware and the third-party price feeds with services written in Go.

Go's adoption is gathering pace thanks to the terse syntax, straightforward powerful standard library, excellent tooling and concurrency primitives.

Go shows real maturity beyond its relatively young age due to the experience of the core development team and the consideration that is shown when introducing language constructs and extending the standard library.

I changed positions so that I could work with Go full-time. Ask anyone that knows me and they'll tell you that I'm not a betting man; you better believe Go is reliable.