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Beta cluster allows Wikimedians to test upcoming software on Labs before deployment

Over the last few weeks, we’ve set up a test environment on Wikimedia Labs to replicate our production cluster and test new software before it’s deployed to Wikimedia sites. This will notably allow us to identify issues with the upcoming version of MediaWiki (1.19) before its deployment — but we need your help.

In case you haven’t heard yet, Wikimedia Labs is a platform aimed to make it easier for developers and system administrators to try out improvements to Wikimedia infrastructure, including MediaWiki, and to do analytics and bot work.

In the past, we’ve used prototype wikis to set up testing environments for upcoming releases of MediaWiki or to test new features. This has been helpful, but has suffered from lack of ongoing maintenance.

Over the holidays, I had the idea — with the upcoming 1.19 release, and the Labs servers newly online and available for non-WMF staff — of using Wikimedia Labs to duplicate the production cluster’s configuration in the Labs environment, and work with volunteers to help maintain this environment.

I particularly want to thank the following people for their work on this project:

  • Petr Bena been driving this almost all the way. He started setting this environment, the servers, apache configuration, and has been helping to keep it going on a pretty consistent basis.
  • John du Hart came along after Petr had already begun and lent his experience with setting up wiki farms. With his help, we put together a really great configuration that more closely duplicates what is in production.
  • Oren Bochman has stepped in to get search working on our micro-cluster. On Wikimedia sites, search has always relied on the help of volunteers. While we don’t yet have search working, Oren has helped us document the search back-end — which will help others set up search like we have on the cluster — and has already started to help us build the next generation of search.

Join in now to identify issues before they reach your wiki

We’ve recently opened this up for the real testing, so now is the time to jump in. Please look at the cluster’s SiteMatrix and find wikis to test. Try reading, editing, using your favorite gadgets, and so on as you normally would; treat it as a giant sandbox. If you find a problem, please report it on the problem reports page.

With your help, we can make the upcoming upgrade smoother.

Mark A. Hershberger, Bugmeister

3 Responses to “Beta cluster allows Wikimedians to test upcoming software on Labs before deployment”

  1. labsconsole is the “interface” for any public instances that show up on wmflabs.org. beta.wmflabs.org is one of those instances. It is distinct from prototype, test and test2 in part because volunteers have root access to the virtual machine and will be able to use it to test new ideas later on.

    It is my understanding that the labs projects are going to replace prototype, test and test2 in the long run.

  2. Waldir says:

    So… what’s the relationship between the beta.wmflabs.org, labsconsole.wikimedia.org, prototype.wikimedia.org, test.wikipedia.org and test2.wikipedia.org? And what’s the future of all these domains?

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