Replay 2023: From Monolith to Workflows at Twilio

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High Tech

Use Case

State Machine

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From Monolith to Workflows at Twilio

The Twilio messaging application used a monolithic architecture that was difficult to change. Their registration process, for instance, was a single state machine with 2,000 lines of code. This meant that adding a new step to the registration process required significant effort. Additionally, their system relied on many third-party integrations with rate limits, making it difficult to manage and troubleshoot errors.

Evaluation Process for Choosing a Workflow Solution

Twilio considered several workflow solutions, including Temporal, Apache Airflow, Netflix Conductor, and Amazon Step Functions. They chose Temporal because it met their criteria:

  • Workflows as code: This was important because Twilio’s workflows are complex with a lot of branching logic.
  • Java support: Their existing monolith was written in Java.
  • Minimal code overhaul: They didn’t want to rewrite their entire codebase.
  • Dynamic workflows: This was important because they needed workflows that could be updated even while running.
  • Rate limiting: Temporal allows configuring the rate at which downstream APIs are called.
  • Managed cloud solution: Twilio wanted to focus on building features and not managing infrastructure.

Benefits of Migrating to Temporal

Twilio observed several benefits after migrating to Temporal:

  • Easier feature implementation: Temporal workflows are implemented as a sequence of steps, making it easier to understand and modify workflows.
  • Improved developer productivity: The small learning curve of Temporal made it easy for developers to adopt.
  • Faster development: Temporal workflows can be easily integrated into new features.
  • Scale: Temporal allowed Twilio to scale their engineering teams.
  • Easier onboarding: New team members were able to quickly learn Temporal and contribute to workflows.

Overall, migration to Temporal was a positive experience for Twilio. It streamlined their development process, improved developer productivity, and made their workflows more scalable and maintainable.

Replay Video

This summary was pulled from a talk that the Twilio team provided at Replay 2023. You can check out the video below or see all the videos from the show on our Replay 2023 video page.

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