Matthew Nowack

Senior backend engineer at Discord

Matt Nowack has spent a career working on scaling distributed systems. From Twilio's REST API to Discord's Real-Time Communications Infrastructure, Matt is passionate about building and scaling high-quality low-latency distributed systems.

Matt scaled the Twilio API to 99.999% uptime and 99.99999% success rate serving billions of requests per week. He's now hard at work scaling the real-time communications infrastructure that powers Discord.

Past Activities

Matthew Nowack
Code BEAM SF 2019
01 Mar 2019
10.35 - 11.20

ZenMonitor: scaling distributed monitoring at Discord

Discord uses BEAM to power real-time communication between tens of millions of processes across dozens of servers. Running a full-mesh network at this scale presents unique challenges when scaling out the native monitoring capabilities of the BEAM VM.

Learn about ZenMonitor a new library developed at Discord which acts as a highly scalable drop-in replacement for process monitoring that reduces network traffic, improves reliability, and retains the core guarantees of BEAM.


  • Provide a high-level understanding of process monitoring in a distribution.
  • Explore how scale effects the BEAM provided monitoring and the approach and design of a drop-in replacement.


To get the most out of the talk, having familiarity with how BEAM processes work and how monitoring works in practice is helpful, but a brief review will be provided. Best for people working on BEAM projects at scale that might be facing a similar scaling issue now or in the near future.