New database server live

We just rotated (literally) some machines at the hosting facility and brought one of the new machines (catbus) into service as our new database server. Bender, which was previously the DB and TRM server, will now solely be used for TRM service, which should decouple the TRM generation from the rest of the MusicBrainz site.

Hopefully this will bring more capacity to handle users to MusicBrainz.

Big thanks to Dave Evans and Kevin Murphy for their help in making this happen.

MusicBrainz in ETech Podcast

Last week at ETech I met Ewan Spence and his buddy Crow — Ewan is a crazy Scotsman who plays with hand-puppets and feeds chocolate lover’s his imported Cadbury chocolate (the dodgy US Cadbury just won’t do!). When he is not foisting chocolate on unsuspecting attendees he’s often found recoding podcasts. After lunch one day he cornered me to talk about MusicBrainz a bit — I wasn’t quite mentally prepared to be facing a microphone, so I sound like a complete dumbass at the beginning, but I manage to catch my stride further into the podcast.

Check it out at the Podcastnetwork’s “The Tech Conference Show“. The MusicBrainz segment starts at 17:05 into the recording.

WSJ mentions MusicBrainz

The Wall Street Journal mentioned MusicBrainz in an article on music metadata today. While talking about using acoustic fingerprints to identify music they write:

MusicBrainz offers a program called MusicBrainz Tagger that uses this method, and Gracenote expects its software partners to broadly roll out a similar Gracenote technology this year. You have to download special software for this system to work on your PC.

(reprinted without permission and in fear of the WSJ striking me down)

I’m glad to see that Gracenote is still playing catch-up with MusicBrainz. Somewhat ironic, isn’t it?

Hardware issues

On sunday I decided to drive up to Fremont (about 200 miles from my house) to place one of our new servers named catbus (from Totoro). I was missing a part (64 bit left angle PCI riser card) so a good chunk of my time in the bay area was spent trying to locate said part. I thought it was possible to get any part for your computer in the bay area at any time of day — but nooo. Not on a sunday!

So, MusicBrainz friend Kevin Murphy volunteered to acquire the part and install it later this week. So, I racked the server, connected it but didn’t power it up. Better than just going home.

Then Jeff wanted me to be present for a software upgrade on zim. To complete the upgrade we rebooted zim, but he didn’t come back up cleanly, so I had to wheel the terminal cart over to zim and nurse him back to health. No big problems, but more stress. As I have zim hooked up, there is this other computer beeping really loud nearby. I think: “Man, that is annoying. Why don’t people take better care of their machines? Damn, which machine is that?”

After some snooping around, it turns out to be our very own Bender, with one of its hard drives failed out of the RAID array. ARG! So once I got done with zim, I zip things back up, drive to Fry’s and buy a new drive for bender at highway robbery prices. Back to the colo and then install the new drive on bender. I boot bender back up, tell the RAID to rebuild and head for home.

We’ll have to go and install more system monitoring tools to watch the status of the RAID array. I would’ve expected some messages in the syslog, but after considering the nature of the RAID system, I see why that wasn’t the case.

Well, live and learn. Things seem to be in good shape right now, so lets hope they stay that way.