Every year, Wikipedia usage goes upward, and every year the technical folks working and volunteering with Wikimedia have to plan, purchase, and implement new servers to keep up to the growing popularity of Wikipedia and its sister projects.  With the advances in computing, running 9 new application servers this year took the load of 36 application servers from 3 years ago.

So when we upgrade, what happens to the old equipment that is too slow for Wikipedia, but not too slow for MANY other non-profits?  We donate them!  These systems were 1U rackmount servers, dual cpu 2.5-3, single core, 2-4GB of RAM, and 2-4 HDD Bays with 1-2 80-250GB HDDs. This year, we have  three non-profits who received our older systems (in alphabetical order): Drupal.org, OpenStreetMap Foundation, and Sugar Labs.

Drupal.org

Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of people and organizations are using Drupal to power scores of different web sites.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is an international non-profit organisation supporting but not controlling the project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anybody to use and share.

OpenStreetMap is an open initiative to create and provide free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them.

Sugar Labs

The mission of Sugar Labs® is to produce, distribute, and support the use of the Sugar learning platform; it is a support base and gathering place for the community of educators and developers to create, extend, teach, and learn with the Sugar learning platform.

We hope the recipients of our servers will be able to put them to good use!

Below are some common questions involving Wikimedia and the server donation process:

Q. How can I get some of the decommissioned donation servers?

A. The best place to follow the goings on of our technical team is here, on the Wikimedia Technical Blog.  When we have a batch of servers up for decommissioning and donation, we will announce it on the tech blog, and instructions on how to apply to receive some servers.

Q. Who is eligible to apply for servers?

A. We try to only donate servers to other non-profits whose core values are similar or in support of our own.  This means we do not donate them for individual use.   Since these servers were purchased with donations to support Wikimedia, we feel we need to further donate them to other like-minded organizations, since that is how the money for the servers was meant to be spent.

Q. How often does this happen?

A. Most servers are kept in use by Wikimedia beyond three years.  Many of our servers that we have turned off in this batch are anywhere from 3 to 5 years old.  We only replace them when it makes sense from the technical standpoint to do so.  This means we cannot just say ‘we will do this every X months.’  We try to get the most use out of every server, as they were donated or purchased with donations.  So there is no set date, just keep checking the Wikimedia Technical Blog, when we have more to donate, we will say so there!

Q. I am a student/person/so and so, and I want to learn to develop and do such and such.  Can you send me a server?

A. Sorry, unfortunately it is just not realistic or fair of us to try to sort out which personal use requests for servers are legitimate and which are folks wanting computers for any other reason.  We choose to limit our donations to other like minded non-profit organizations.

Rob Halsell
Systems Administrator