☕ Storing billions of messages
How Discord stores billions of messages with Cassandra. Plus, a top down and bottom up dynamic programming solution to our last coding interview question!
Hey Guys,
Tech Snippets

How Discord Stores Billions of Messages
 This is a blog post from 2017 on how Discord stores billions of messages (hundreds of millions of messages generated a day).
 They started with MongoDB in order to iterate quickly but they knew they would have to find something scalable later.
 “This is part of our company culture: build quickly to prove out a product feature, but always with a path to a more robust solution.”
 Database reads were extremely random and the read/write ratio was approximately 50/50
 Users need the ability to view their mentions for the last 30 days and then jump to that point in history for the discord chat. This means lots of random reads!
 The Discord team decided to go with Cassandra, an opensource NoSQL database. They talk about why Cassandra was a good choice and what specific features they were looking for.
 The post goes into data modeling, performance and launching a new database!
Interview Question
Write a function that sorts the elements in a stack so that the smallest elements are on top.
You can use an additional temporary stack, but you cannot copy the elements into any other data structure.
The stack supports the following operations
 push
 pop
 peek
 isEmpty
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Previous Solution
As a refresher, here’s the last question
You are walking up a staircase with n steps.
You can hop either 1 step, 2 steps or 3 steps in a single time (you have long legs).
Write a function to count how many possible ways you can walk up the stairs.
Solution
We can solve this question with Dynamic Programming.
If we have n steps, then the number of ways we can walk up the stairs is (n  1) + (n  2) + (n  3).
Therefore, with top down DP, we can just recursively call each individual function and add them together to get our result.
Our base case will be if n == 0, in which case we just return 1.
Here’s the Python 3 code.
@lru_cache # Python decorator for Memoization
def countWays(n):
if n < 0:
return 0
elif n == 0:
return 1
else:
return countWays(n  3) + countWays(n  2) + countWays(n  1)
For Bottom Up DP, we’d typically use a memo table.
However, in this question we’re just accessing the last 3 values (n  1, n  2, n  3).
Therefore, we can solve this question using constant space by just using 3 variables to keep track of those values. We don’t have to use an entire array to maintain our memo table.
Here’s the Bottom Up DP code.
def countWays(n):
if n < 3:
return n
elif n == 3:
return 4
first = 1
second = 2
third = 4
for i in range(3, n):
first, second, third = second, third, first + second + third
return third
The time complexity is O(n) and the space complexity is O(1).