Skip to content
A Java implementation of Twitter Snowflake
Branch: development
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

Flaky Maven Build Status Coverage Status Javadocs

A Java implementation of Twitter Snowflake. The implementation sticks closely to the specification with the exception that the node and sequence lengths can be adjusted instead of staying fixed at the default values of 10 and 12 bits, respectively.

In short: Flaky will generate unique, increasing 64-bit values, which are perfect for database entity IDs. Furthermore, these values will never collide, even in a distributed environment, as long as the machines generating the IDs maintain different node values.


Node Value

An integer used to identify a particular machine generating IDs using Flaky. Can be between 0 (meaning there is only a single machine generating IDs) and 16 (meaning there are up to 65535 machines generating IDs) bits in length.

Sequence Value

An increasing value that rolls over to 0 every millisecond. Can be between 6 and 22 bits in length.

How an ID is Generated

A Flaky ID is a 64-bit value that looks like this:

| Timestamp (41 bits) | Node value (0-16 bits) | Sequence Value (6-22 bits) |

The timestamp is set to the number of milliseconds that have elapsed since the epoch, which is configurable and defaults to 2016-11-28. Since this value is 41 bits in length, Flaky IDs will be valid for a little over 69 years after the epoch.

The node value remains static and is dictated by a user-configurable value (with a default value of 0). This value should always remain the same when Flaky is invoked on the same machine.

The sequence value increments on every call and rolls over to 0 every millisecond.

With default settings, this means that each node can generate 4096 unique IDs per millisecond for nearly 70 years! You can generate more or fewer IDs per millisecond by tweaking the sequence length.


Flaky requires Java 8 or later.


Add the following dependency in your pom.xml file:


Then, create a FlakyId instance:

// Use defaults: 10-bit node length, 12 bit sequence length, node value = 0.
FlakyId generator = new FlakyId.Builder().build();

// Use defaults with a specific node value.
generator = new FlakyId.Builder().withNode(1L).build();

// Use a shorter node value length, which gives a much longer sequence length.
generator = new FlakyId.Builder().withNodeLength(4L).build();

// Use a custom epoch and longer sequence length.
generator = new FlakyId.Builder().withEpoch(System.currentTimeMillis()).withSequenceLength(16L).build();

Then, generate away!

long timestamp = generator.generateIdSafe();
// ...

Note that there is a very real possibility that the machine's system clock will drift backwards from time to time (such as when updated time is received from an NTP server), and in that case generateIdSafe() will wait as long as necessary for the system clock to catch back up. This is needed to ensure that IDs are unique and constantly increasing. Keep in mind that there is no upper limit on how long this will be, but unless something is very wrong with the system clock this should be a fairly short amount of time.

Alternatively, you can use generateId(), which will throw SystemClockException when the system clock drifts backwards. This gives you the opportunity to decide how you want to handle this situation (i.e., do nothing, wait if the amount of time needed is short, fail, etc.):

try {
     long timestamp = generator.generateId();
     // ...

catch (SystemClockException e) {
     // Give up?  Or wait:

You can’t perform that action at this time.