Well, wonder no longer! To configure the Wikimedia servers, we use Puppet, a configuration management system, which lets us write code that manages all of our servers like a single large application. Of course, to really know how our servers are configured, you’d need to see our Puppet configuration.

Good news: we’ve just released our Puppet configuration in a public Git repository.

What is and isn’t included

Basically everything is included in the repository. We spent a few weeks removing private and sensitive things from the repository, though. We have these in a private repository that is only available to Wikimedia staff and volunteers with root access.

This, of course, means that the puppet configuration, as released, won’t completely work. The public repository makes references to files and manifests in the private repository. To make the repository work, you’ll need to fill in the missing information. There isn’t very much in the private repository, though, so that task should be fairly easy.

The point of making this repository public

We have a couple reasons for making this repository public:

  1. It shares knowledge with the world
  2. It lets us treat operations like a software development project

Both reasons align with our mission, but we were already mostly sharing this knowledge via wikitech. The second reason aligns more closely with our mission, as it allows us to let the world be directly involved in our operations efforts.

Labs and community oriented operations

The release of this Puppet repository is the first step in the Wikimedia Test/Dev Labs project. We’ll be going further than just making the repository readable by the world. Part of the Test/Dev Labs project is to create a clone of our production cluster. This clone will run a branch of the puppet repository.

Staff and community developers, and staff and community operations engineers will be able to push changes to the test branch of the Puppet repository, which will manage the cloned cluster. They’ll then be able to push these changes for review to the production branch of the Puppet repository. The staff operations engineers can then code-review the changes and push the changes out to the production systems.

Like the Wikimedia content, the site interface, and the site’s software (MediaWiki), community members will be able to edit the site’s architecture as well.

Accessing the repository

Since this is a public Git repository, you can do an anonymous git clone like so:

git clone https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/p/operations/puppet

You can browse the repository through the gitweb interface. You can see the code review activity via Gerrit.

Ryan Lane
Operations Engineer