June 25, 2024
Pinterest Engineering
Pinterest Engineering Blog

Ning Zhang; Principal Engineer | Ang Xu; Principal Machine Studying Engineer | Claire Liu; Workers Software program Engineer | Haichen Liu; Workers Software program Engineer | Yiran Zhao; Workers Software program Engineer | Haoyu He; Sr. Software program Engineer | Sergei Radutnuy; Sr. Machine Studying Engineer | Di An; Sr. Software program Engineer | Danyal Raza; Sr. Software program Engineer | Xuan Chen; Sr. Software program Engineer | Chi Zhang; Sr. Software program Engineer | Adam Winstanley; Workers Software program Engineer | Johnny Xie; Sr. Workers Software program Engineer | Simeng Qu; Software program Engineer II | Nishant Roy; Supervisor II, Engineering | Chengcheng Hu; Sr. Director, Engineering |

The ads-serving platform is the highest-scale suggestion system at Pinterest, liable for delivering >$3B in yearly income and making it some of the enterprise important methods on the firm! From late 2021 to mid-2023, the Advertisements Infra group, together with a number of key collaborators, redesigned and rewrote this method fully from scratch to handle years of tech debt and lay the foundations for the following 5+ years of audacious enterprise targets. On this weblog submit, we are going to describe the motivations and challenges of this rewrite, together with our wins and learnings from this two yr journey.

Overview of the Pinterest Advertisements Serving System

The advert serving service sits within the heart of Pinterest’s advert supply funnel. Determine 1 (beneath) depicts a excessive stage overview of Pinterest’s first model of the adverts serving system referred to as “Mohawk”. It took a request from the natural facet and returned top-k advert candidates to be blended into natural outcomes earlier than being despatched to customers for rendering. Internally it acted as a middleware that linked different providers, resembling function expander, retrieval, and rating, and at last returned the top-k adverts to customers.

Determine 1. Overview of the Pinterest advert serving system


Rewriting the service on the coronary heart of the enterprise is an costly and dangerous endeavor. This part describes how we arrived at this determination.

Mohawk, applied in 2014, was Pinterest’s first advert serving system. Throughout its eight-year lifespan, Mohawk turned some of the advanced methods at Pinterest. As of 2022, Mohawk:

  • Served greater than 2 billion advert impressions per day and generated $2.8 billion in advert income
  • Dealt with advert requests from a dozen user-facing surfaces, serving lots of of thousands and thousands of Pinners in over 30 international locations
  • Relied on 70+ backends for function/information fetching, predictions, candidate technology, bidding/pacing/funds administration, and many others.
  • Has greater than 380K strains of code and 200+ experiments which are modified by greater than 100 engineers from totally different groups

As our advert enterprise and engineering group grew quickly, Mohawk amassed important complexities and tech debt. These complexities made the system more and more brittle, leading to a number of eng-weeks misplaced in resolving outages.

Lots of the incidents weren’t due to apparent code bugs, which made them onerous to be captured by unit assessments and even integration assessments. They had been brought on by basic design flaws within the platform resembling:

  1. Shut coupling of infra frameworks and enterprise logic: Easy software logic adjustments required a deep information of the infra frameworks.
  2. Lack of correct modularization and possession: Options or performance that ought to have lived in particular person modules had been collocated in the identical directories/recordsdata/strategies, making it onerous to outline a very good code possession construction. It additionally resulted in conflicting adjustments and code bugs.
  3. No ensures of knowledge integrity: The Mohawk framework didn’t help the enforcement of knowledge integrity constraints, e.g., guaranteeing that ML options are constant between serving and logging.
  4. Unsafe multi-threading: All builders might freely add multi-threaded code to the system with none correct frameworks for error dealing with or race situations, leading to latent software program bugs that had been onerous to detect.

In Q3 2021, we began a working group to determine whether or not an entire rewrite or a significant refactor was due.

Choice Making

It took us three months to analysis, survey, prototype, and scrutinize totally different choices earlier than lastly making a choice to rewrite Mohawk right into a Java-based service. The ultimate determination was primarily based mostly on two factors:

  1. A significant refactor in place could take extra time than rewriting from scratch. One motive is that the refactor of an internet service must be damaged down into many small code adjustments, lots of which must undergo rigorous experiments to ensure they don’t trigger any regressions or outages. This may take days to weeks for every experiment. Then again, an entire rewrite can obtain larger throughput earlier than the ultimate A/B experiment section.
  2. Pinterest natural mixers are all constructed on a Java-based framework. Rewriting the AdMixer service utilizing the identical framework would open the door to unifying natural and adverts mixing for deeper optimization.

With settlement from all Monetization stakeholders, the AdMixer Rewrite undertaking was kicked off on the finish of 2021.

The objective of the AdMixer Rewrite undertaking was to construct an adverts platform that enabled lots of of builders to construct new merchandise and algorithms for fast enterprise progress whereas minimizing the chance to manufacturing well being. We recognized the next Engineering Design ideas to assist us construct a system that might obtain this objective:

  1. Simply extensible: The framework and APIs have to be versatile sufficient to help extensions to new functionalities in addition to deprecation of previous ones. Design-for-deprecation is commonly an omitted function, which is why technical methods turn into bloated over time.
  2. Separation of issues: Separation of infra framework by defining excessive stage abstractions that enterprise logic can use. Enterprise logic owned by totally different groups must be modularized and remoted from one another.
  3. Protected-by-design: Our framework ought to help the protected use of concurrency and the enforcement of knowledge integrity guidelines by default. For instance, we wish to allow builders to leverage concurrency for performant code whereas guaranteeing there are not any race situations that will trigger ML function discrepancy throughout serving and logging.
  4. Growth velocity: The framework ought to present well-supported growth environments and easy-to-use instruments for debugging and analyses.

Design Selections

With these ideas in thoughts, designing a posh software program methods required us reply these two key questions:

  1. How will we arrange the code in order that one group’s change doesn’t break one other group’s code?
  2. How will we handle information to ensure correctness and desired properties all through the service?

To reply to the above questions, we have to absolutely perceive the present enterprise logic, how information is manipulated, after which construct a excessive stage abstraction on high of it. Determine 1 depicts such a excessive stage instance of code group. Code may be represented right into a directed acyclic graph (DAG) construction. Every node represents a logically coherent piece of enterprise logic. The sides between them symbolize information dependencies between them. Information is handed from upstream to downstream nodes. With the graph construction, it’s attainable to attain extensibility and growth velocity as a consequence of higher modularity. To attain safe-by-design, we additionally want to ensure that the info handed by the graph is thread-safe.

Based mostly on the above desired finish state, we made two main design selections:

  1. use an in-house graph execution framework referred to as Apex to prepare the code into DAGs, and
  2. construct an modern information mannequin that’s handed within the graph to ensure protected execution.

Because of the area constraints, we merely summarize the ultimate outcomes right here. We encourage readers to seek advice from the second a part of the weblog submit for the detailed design, implementations, and migration verifications.


We’re proud to report that the AdMixer service has been operating stay in manufacturing for nearly three full quarters, with no important outages as a part of the migration. This was an enormous achievement for the group, since we launched proper earlier than the 2023 vacation season, which is historically probably the most important a part of the yr for our adverts enterprise.

Trying again on the targets we arrange at first: to hurry up product improvements safely with a big group, we’re joyful to report that we’ve achieved all targets. The Monetization group has already launched a number of new product options within the new system (e.g., our third social gathering adverts partnership with Google was developed fully on AdMixer). We’ve got grown to have greater than 280 engineers contributing to the brand new codebase. Our developer satisfaction survey (NPS) rating has practically doubled from 46 to 90, indicating extraordinarily excessive developer satisfaction! Lastly, our new service can be operating on extra environment friendly {hardware} (AWS Graviton cases), which resulted in a number of million {dollars} of infra value discount.

Within the second a part of the weblog submit, we’re going to focus on the detailed design selections and the challenges we’ve encountered in the course of the migration. We hope a few of the learnings are useful to comparable tasks sooner or later.

We wish to thank the next individuals who had important contributions to this undertaking:

Miao Wang, Alex Polissky, Humsheen Geo, Anneliese Lu, Balaji Muthazhagan Thirugnana Muthuvelan, Hugo Milhomens, Lili Yu, Alessandro Gastaldi, Tao Yang, Crystiane Meira, Huiqing Zhou, Sreshta Vijayaraghavan, Jen-An Lien,Nathan Fong,David Wu, Tristan Nee, Haoyang Li, Kuo-Kai Hsieh, Queena Zhang, Kartik Kapur, Harshal Dahake, Joey Wang, Naehee Kim, Insu Lee, Sanchay Javeria, Filip Jaros, Weihong Wang, Keyi Chen, Mahmoud Eariby, Michael Qi, Zack Drach, Xiaofang Chen, Robert Gordan, Yicheng Ren, Luman Huang, Soo Hyung Park, Shanshan Li, Zicong Zhou, Fei Feng, Anna Luo, Galina Malovichko, Ziyu Fan, Jiahui Ding, Andrei Curelea, Aayush Mudgal, Han Solar, Matt Meng, Ke Xu, Runze Su, Meng Mei, Hongda Shen, Jinfeng Zhuang, Qifei Shen, Yulin Lei, Randy Carlson, Ke Zeng, Harry Wang, Sharare Zehtabian, Mohit Jain, Dylan Liao, Jiabin Wang, Helen Xu, Kehan Jiang, Gunjan Patil, Abe Engle, Ziwei Guo, Xiao Yang, Supeng Ge, Lei Yao, Qingmengting Wang, Jay Ma, Ashwin Jadhav, Peifeng Yin, Richard Huang, Jacob Gao, Lumpy Lum, Lakshmi Manoharan, Adriaan ten Kate, Jason Shu, Bahar Bazargan, Tiona Francisco, Ken Tian, Cindy Lai, Dipa Maulik, Faisal Gedi, Maya Reddy, Yen-Han Chen, Shanshan Wu, Joyce Wang,Saloni Chacha, Cindy Chen, Qingxian Lai, Se Received Jang, Ambud Sharma, Vahid Hashemian, Jeff Xiang, Shardul Jewalikar, Suman Shil, Colin Probasco, Tianyu Geng, James Fish

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