Developers get ready for FOSDEM amid caching problems
Data centre migration and caching problems
As reported in last week's "Technology Report", the WMF's data centre in Ashburn, Virginia ("eqiad") took over responsibility for almost all of the remaining functions that had previously been handled by their old facility in Tampa, Florida ("pmtpa") on 22 January. The Signpost reported then that few problems had arisen since handover. Unfortunately that was not to remain the case, with reports of caching problems (which typically only affect anonymous users) starting to come in.
The main bug driving anonymous users' difficulties, bug #44391 ("old revisions of pages are shown when not logged in and also revision history is outdated"), was finally declared fixed at around 05:00 UTC on 28 January, although only time will tell if further fixes will be needed. After the migration, other miscellaneous problems with the cache for images and other uploads (both originals and thumbnails) appear to worsen and new ones emerge, mixed up with them. WMF Director of Platform Engineering Rob Lanphier shared an update on the current situation.
The data centre in Tampa will continue to be maintained as a "hot failover", with servers in standby mode, ready to take over should the primary site experience an outage. Additionally, the Signpost understands that the Tampa data centre will continue to be used for image scaling in the short term, before that too is migrated to Ashburn.
MediaWiki and Wikimedia developers prepare for conference
At least a dozen volunteer and staff developers and technically-inclined Wikimedians are making their way to European conference FOSDEM this weekend, records show. The Belgian-led conference brings together open-source developers and advocates from around the world.
Right after that, the WMF Language engineering team will be flying to India for a two-week marathon of MediaWiki development and internationalization outreach, including attendance at the 2013 GNUnify conference. WMF developers will also be staging their own workshops at the Quark '13 conference on February 1 and 2 and at the Pune LanguageSummit on February 12 and 13, aiming to better take advantage of the rapidly growing Indian software development scene, which is already one of the largest in the world.
Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for several weeks.
- SVN set to read-only: Most of the WMF-operated Subversion (SVN) was set to read-only this week, marking the penultimate step in the switchover to Git initiated in March last year. Internationalisation support for the extensions which used the repository had already been discontinued; virtually all extension developers have now switched over to Git or found alternative hosting, though a number of unmaintained extensions, none of which are deployed on Wikimedia wikis, are yet to be transferred. Some areas targeting non-extension-related projects such as pywikipedia remain writeable and there are no plans to delete any files for the foreseeable future (wikitech-l, server admin log).
- Re-enabling of disabled SpecialPages trialled: As of time of writing, tests are being run to evaluate the feasibility of the various solutions for bug #15434 ("Periodical run of currently disabled special pages"). Particularly observant readers may therefore come across occasional updates to reports, the data for which was previously between 4 and 9 years out of date.
- Job queue still imperfect: After weeks of wild variation, the job queue (which handles the processing of low priority tasks – "jobs" – such as updating category membership lists) grew once this week, up to a few million jobs for all wikis (rather than the usual few thousand), but may be getting better. Unfortunately no data can be shown because access to the site tracking portal ganglia.wikimedia.org is restricted for security reasons.
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