Tag Archives: golang

Actuating Google Production: How Google’s Site Reliability Engineering Team Uses Go

Google runs a small number of very large services. Those services are powered by a global infrastructure covering everything a developer needs: storage systems, load balancers, network, logging, monitoring, and much more. Nevertheless, it is not a static system—it cannot be. Architecture evolves, new products and ideas are created, new versions must be rolled out, configs pushed, database schema updated, and more. We end up deploying changes to our systems dozens of times per second.

Because of this scale and critical need for reliability, Google pioneered Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), a role that many other companies have since adopted. “SRE is what you get when you treat operations as if it’s a software problem. Our mission is to protect, provide for, and progress the software and systems behind all of Google’s public services with an ever-watchful eye on their availability, latency, performance, and capacity.” - Site Reliability Engineering (SRE).

Go Gopher logo
Credit to Renee French for the Go Gopher

In 2013-2014, Google’s SRE team realized that our approach to production management was not cutting it anymore in many ways. We had advanced far beyond shell scripts, but our scale had so many moving pieces and complexities that a new approach was needed. We determined that we needed to move toward a declarative model of our production, called "Prodspec," driving a dedicated control plane, called "Annealing."

When we started those projects, Go was just becoming a viable option for critical services at Google. Most engineers were more familiar with Python and C++, either of which would have been valid choices. Nevertheless, Go captured our interest. The appeal of novelty was certainly a factor of course. But, more importantly, Go promised a sweet spot between performance and readability that neither of the other languages were able to offer. We started a small experiment with Go for some initial parts of Annealing and Prodspec. As the projects progressed, those initial parts written in Go found themselves at the core. We were happy with Go—its simplicity grew on us, the performance was there, and concurrency primitives would have been hard to replace.

At no point was there ever a mandate or requirement to use Go, but we had no desire to return to Python or C++. Go grew organically in Annealing and Prodspec. It was the right choice, and thus is now our language of choice. Now the majority of Google production is managed and maintained by our systems written in Go.

The power of having a simple language in those projects is hard to overstate. There have been cases where some feature was indeed missing, such as the ability to enforce in the code that some complex structure should not be mutated. But for each one of those cases, there have undoubtedly been tens or hundred of cases where the simplicity helped.

For example, Annealing impacts a wide variety of teams and services meaning that we relied heavily on contributions across the company. The simplicity of Go made it possible for people outside our team to see why some part or another was not working for them, and often provide fixes or features themselves. This allowed us to quickly grow.

Prodspec and Annealing are in charge of some quite critical components. Go’s simplicity means that the code is easy to follow, whether it is to spot bugs during review or when trying to determine exactly what happened during a service disruption.

Go performance and concurrency support have also been key for our work. As our model of production is declarative, we tend to manipulate a lot of structured data, which describes what production is and what it should be. We have large services so the data can grow large, often making purely sequential processing not efficient enough.

We are manipulating this data in many ways and many places. It is not a matter of having a smart person come up with a parallel version of our algorithm. It is a matter of casual parallelism, finding the next bottleneck and parallelising that code section. And Go enables exactly that.

As a result of our success with Go, we now use Go for every new development for Prodspec and Annealing.In addition to the SRE team, engineering teams across Google have adopted Go in their development process. Read about how the Core Data Solutions, Firebase Hosting, and Chrome teams use Go to build fast, reliable, and efficient software at scale.

By Pierre Palatin, Site Reliability Engineer

New Case Studies About Google’s Use of Go

Go started in September 2007 when Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson, and I began discussing a new language to address the engineering challenges we and our colleagues at Google were facing in our daily work. The software we were writing was typically a networked server—a single program interacting with hundreds of other servers—and over its lifetime thousands of programmers might be involved in writing and maintaining it. But the existing languages we were using didn't seem to offer the right tools to solve the problems we faced in this complex environment.

So, we sat down one afternoon and started talking about a different approach.

When we first released Go to the public in November 2009, we didn’t know if the language would be widely adopted or if it might influence future languages. Looking back from 2020, Go has succeeded in both ways: it is widely used both inside and outside Google, and its approaches to network concurrency and software engineering have had a noticeable effect on other languages and their tools.

Go has turned out to have a much broader reach than we had ever expected. Its growth in the industry has been phenomenal, and it has powered many projects at Google.
Credit to Renee French for the gopher illustration.

The earliest production uses of Go inside Google appeared in 2011, the year we launched Go on App Engine and started serving YouTube database traffic with Vitess. At the time, Vitess’s authors told us that Go was exactly the combination of easy network programming, efficient execution, and speedy development that they needed, and that if not for Go, they likely wouldn’t have been able to build the system at all.

The next year, Go replaced Sawzall for Google’s search quality analysis. And of course, Go also powered Google’s development and launch of Kubernetes in 2014.

In the past year, we’ve posted sixteen case studies from end users around the world talking about how they use Go to build fast, reliable, and efficient software at scale. Today, we are adding three new case studies from teams inside Google:
  • Core Data Solutions: Google’s Core Data team replaced a monolithic indexing pipeline written in C++ with a more flexible system of microservices, the majority of them written in Go, that help support Google Search.
  • Google Chrome: Mobile users of Google Chrome in lite mode rely on the Chrome Optimization Guide server to deliver hints for optimizing page loads of well-known sites in their geographic area. That server, written in Go, helps deliver faster page loads and lowered data usage to millions of users daily.
  • Firebase: Google Cloud customers turn to Firebase as their mobile and web hosting platform of choice. After joining Google, the team completely migrated its backend servers from Node.js to Go, for the easy concurrency and efficient execution.
We hope these stories provide the Go developer community with deeper insight into the reasons why teams at Google choose Go, what they use Go for, and the different paths teams took to those decisions.

If you’d like to share your own story about how your team or organization uses Go, please contact us.

By Rob Pike, Distinguished Engineer

The Go language turns 10: A Look at Go’s Growth in the Enterprise

Posted by Steve Francia, Go TeamGo's gopher mascot

The Go gopher was created by renowned illustrator Renee French. This image is adapted from a drawing by Egon Elbre.

November 10 marked Go’s 10th anniversary—a milestone that we are lucky enough to celebrate with our global developer community.

The Gopher community will be celebrating Go’s 10th anniversary at conferences such as Gopherpalooza in Mountain View and KubeCon in San Diego, and dozens of meetups around the world.

In recognition of this milestone, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the tremendous growth and progress Go (also known as golang) has made: from its creation at Google and open sourcing, to many early adopters and enthusiasts, to the global enterprises that now rely on Go everyday for critical workloads.

New to Go?

Go is an open-source programming language designed to help developers build fast, reliable, and efficient software at scale. It was created at Google and is now supported by over 2100 contributors, primarily from the open-source community. Go is syntactically similar to C, but with the added benefits of memory safety, garbage collection, structural typing, and CSP-style concurrency.

Most importantly, Go was purposefully designed to improve productivity for multicore, networked machines and large codebases—allowing programmers to rapidly scale both software development and deployment.

Millions of Gophers!

Today, Go has more than a million users worldwide, ranging across industries, experience, and engineering disciplines. Go’s simple and expressive syntax, ease-of-use, formatting, and speed have helped it become one of the fastest growing languages—with a thriving open source community.

As Go’s use has grown, more and more foundational services have been built with it. Popular open source applications built on Go include Docker, Hugo, Kubernetes. Google’s hybrid cloud platform, Anthos, is also built with Go.

Go was first adopted to support large amounts of Google’s services and infrastructure. Today, Go is used by companies including, American Express, Dropbox, The New York Times, Salesforce, Target, Capital One, Monzo, Twitch, IBM, Uber, and Mercado Libre. For many enterprises, Go has become their language of choice for building on the cloud.

An Example of Go In the Enterprise

One exciting example of Go in action is at MercadoLibre, which uses Go to scale and modernize its ecommerce ecosystem, improve cost-efficiencies, and system response times.

MercadoLibre’s core API team builds and maintains the largest APIs at the center of the company’s microservices solutions. Historically, much of the company’s stack was based on Grails and Groovy backed by relational databases. However this big framework with multiple layers was soon found encountering scalability issues.

Converting that legacy architecture to Go as a new, very thin framework for building APIs streamlined those intermediate layers and yielded great performance benefits. For example, one large Go service is now able to run 70,000 requests per machine with just 20 MB of RAM.

“Go was just marvelous for us,” explains Eric Kohan, Software Engineering Manager at MercadoLibre. “It’s very powerful and very easy to learn, and with backend infrastructure has been great for us in terms of scalability.”

Using Go allowed MercadoLibre to cut the number of servers they use for this service to one-eighth the original number (from 32 servers down to four), plus each server can operate with less power (originally four CPU cores, now down to two CPU cores). With Go, the company obviated 88 percent of their servers and cut CPU on the remaining ones in half—producing a tremendous cost-savings.

With Go, MercadoLibre’s build times are three times (3x) faster and their test suite runs an amazing 24 times faster. This means the company’s developers can make a change, then build and test that change much faster than they could before.

Today, roughly half of Mercadolibre's traffic is handled by Go applications.

"We really see eye-to-eye with the larger philosophy of the language," Kohan explains. "We love Go's simplicity, and we find that having its very explicit error handling has been a gain for developers because it results in safer, more stable code in production."

Visit go.dev to Learn More

We’re thrilled by how the Go community continues to grow, through developer usage, enterprise adoption, package contribution, and in many other ways.

Building off of that growth, we’re excited to announce go.dev, a new hub for Go developers.

There you’ll find centralized information for Go packages and modules, a wealth of learning resources to get started with the language, and examples of critical use cases and case studies of companies using Go.

MercadoLibre’s recent experience is just one example of how Go is being used to build fast, reliable, and efficient software at scale.

You can read more about MercadoLibre’s success with Go in the full case study.

Shopping for a Ruby to Go with new Content API samples

Our Samples and Libraries page has been updated with additional languages: Ruby and Go. For Ruby, the new samples are written in plain Ruby, which should make them easy to integrate into whatever Ruby framework you may be using for your particular project. If you haven't had a chance to try your hand at Go yet, the new Go examples provide the perfect excuse.

If you have questions about the samples or any feedback on how they might be improved or expanded, please feel free to file an issue on GitHub! If you have any other questions or feedback concerning the Content API for Shopping in general, please let us know on the forum.