[Toolserver-l] Next level of stabilization

River Tarnell river at loreley.flyingparchment.org.uk
Sat Feb 28 23:12:14 UTC 2009

Hash: SHA1

Lars Aronsson:
> My problem is a lack of speed. When I say "geotagging", I want 
> geotagging to happen, but so far it is delayed by this and that. 

can't really answer that without knowing what 'this and that' are (i understand
most of the problem are caused by people having a lack of time, which isn't
really something we (= admins) can fix).

> When I want to add interwiki links (using Multichill's suggester), 
> the failed s3 replication delays a large portion of that work. 

yes, this was unfortunate, but i've spoken to the WMF admins about it, and i
think it shouldn't happen in future.  the chances would be further reduced if
we could have redundant database replicas, but we don't have the ~EUR24'000 (+
power costs) needed to make that happen.

> > if you have specific technical questions/problems, i can answer 
> > those, or explain why things are as they are.
> I have tons of these, but I'll save them for another thread.
i can hardly wait.

> > as far as resources go: yes, we're short of money.  we have just 
> > about enough to keep the toolserver running most of the time, 
> > but with more money it could be a lot more reliable (and 
> > faster).
> How does this money flow? 

the Verein purchases hardware itself using donations.  as far as i'm aware
there has been no work on grants or additional funding.  usually, we have a
general idea of what we need (new database, new web server, ...), then discuss
an exact specification, look at prices and decide on a final list of purchases.
we send these to the Verein and they incorporate it into the budget.

> Does the toolserver have a budget of its own?

yes.  but it's decided at the start of the year based on the minimum amount we
need to survive for the entire year, plus a small discretionary budget for
small hardware costs, software, etc.

> A balance sheet that shows what you've used the money for?  

if there is one, it's not public.  this year, we have spent ~EUR2'000 on a new
web server and ~EUR8'000 on a new database for s1 (enwiki), which also helps
s3; the Verein separately spent ~20'000 EUR on a server to replicate Wikimedia
uploads in Amsterdam.  this used up most of the budget; we might be able to
afford one or two additional servers, if necessary.

> Is the server wholly owned by Wikimedia Deutschland?

yes, except the servers that are owned by Wikimedia (hemlock and amaranth,
because they were donated by Sun, and vandale and zedler, because they were
donated by Kennisnet).

> They're hardly short of money, are they?

i don't know how you define "short of money".  they don't have enough money to
support everything we want to do.

> Ah, always this WMF bottleneck.  While we're waiting, could we 
> send someone more along Werdna's path? 

i don't think we would have much luck trying to get the WMF to employ someone
just so we can make them a TS admin.

> Are the current admins doing some tasks that can be delegated to unprivileged
> users?

nothing that takes a significant amount of time.

> Are there some projects that only use database dumps,

it's quite likely, but i don't know of any.  perhaps someone could start a

> and no replicated data, that could run on a separate (low security) server
> with a more liberal admin policy?

this server would need to be completely separate from the existing Toolserver
infrastructure, which would significantly increase admin workload.  it would
make more sense for it to be run by someone else, unrelated to the Toolserver.
(as if it had its own admins, all we would be doing is providing hosting and
> Is there a budget, a balance sheet, a bank account?  On the Toolserver Wiki,
> the donation page asks for donations to be sent to Wikimedia Deutschland or
> WMF.  If both organizations have a problem to send money out of their
> countries, that seems suboptimal.
why?  the Verein buys the hardware; they don't have to send the money to
anyone.  having hardware owned by the WMF is also no problem, as we work
closely with them anyway (and we already use some of their hardware).  what i
want to avoid is having 20 chapters owning different bits of the hardware, and
having to chase down some new person every time we need a broken disk replaced.

> Our next chapter board meeting is on Monday evening, March 2.  Do you have
> any suggestion I should bring forward?

i don't know what projects would help Swedish users specifically.  some
examples of things we are currently unable to buy would be:

- - 3 new databases to provide a redundant replica of each cluster.  ~EUR8'000
  each, EUR24'000 total.
- - a ZWS license for stable, which would improve web hosting reliability by
  replacing our current software (switchboard).  ~EUR1'300
- - a paid admin.  ~EUR15'000/year

	- river.
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