We have been upgrading and adding new servers for capacity increases as we always do, unfortunately, thanks to the more updated tech, some of our older systems just are not worth the space in our racks.  These are servers that Wikimedia has used on the projects for 3+ years, so they are out of warranty.  These are good systems though, and while we may overload them and want replacements, they are fine for many, many non-profits to use.

Most systems (but possibly not all) have the following specifications:

  • Dual CPU 2.5 GHz AMD (some intel, but most AMD in this batch.)
  • 3-4GB RAM Each
  • Most have 80 GB or larger HDD (Some have two hard drives, some drives are 160GB or possibly even 250GB)

Disclaimers: The Wikimedia Foundation does not guarantee the operation or use of these servers in any shape or form.  They are old, some may have dying fans, bad hdd sectors, and the like.  Servers have been wiped of information, and they ran through that, but no promises on function!  Also, most servers have rails, but occasionally one may not, and we do not sort through them for these things.  However, they are standard supermicro servers in most cases, and getting replacement rails is fairly simple.  Some servers are well over 3 years old, we do not just turn off servers when they hit the 3 year mark, we turn them off when they are no longer worth using in any role or function on our cluster in a reliable manner.  In most cases, it is simply the hardware technology has updated to the point that a new server is much faster, and since we demand high performance of our servers, it is worth upgrading for our needs.

Now, last time we opened this up, we got a lot of individuals asking for servers for various uses.  Some requests were not very clear, and overall we ended up with a lot of stuff to sort through to find those eligible for these servers.

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.  This means that we cannot, in good conscience, donate these servers for profit or personal use to individuals or corporations.

If you would like to receive some of these servers for your NON-PROFIT use, please email servers@wikimedia.org.  TO BE ELIGIBLE YOUR EMAIL MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  • Subject: Server Decommissioning Donations for <NONPROFIT NAME HERE>
  • Your name, contact information, relationship with non-profit requesting the servers
  • Registered non-profit name and information.
  • Information on the non-profit, who they are, what their mission statement and goals are.
  • Shipping address information for a FedEx Ground delivery to where the servers need to go.
  • How the servers will be used.  (We like to know and share with folks!)

Please keep in mind that deciding where these go is pretty tough, so the more detailed you can be in your email is best.  (IE: ‘Wikimedia uses these for our sites.’ is pretty vague where ‘Wikimedia is the non-profit foundation that runs Wikipedia.  Server donations to us would be used to run our websites that allow access to Wikipedia and its sister projects.’ is a lot nicer. ;)  Also, by submitting and possibly accepting servers from us, you are giving us permission to post about it here on our technical blog.

The submission period will remain open no less than two weeks from this posting.

The last time we did this was in September 2009, which took a long while to get sorted out!  We try to do these in multiple, smaller batches, it just easier on operations that way.

Rob Halsell, Operations Engineer

If there are any questions or concerns, anyone can feel free to email me @ the servers@wikimedia.org address, or you can also feel free just to post the questions in the comments.  (Which is even better, avoids duplicate questions!)
Rob Halsell
Systems Administrator