Planned TRM Server outage

The TRM server will be going for a multi-hour road trip to SLO tomorrow, which means that the server gets to take a break and enjoy picturesque views of the California countryside. Thus, there will be no TRM service tomorrow from between 1100 and 1200 PST (1900 GMT – 2000GMT) until about 1800 – 2000 PST (0200 GMT – 0400 GMT). It should be less, but something always happens, right?

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Service status update and upcoming release

Update: The move was postponed by approx. 24 hours, and has now been started.

Its been a rough week for MusicBrainz, that’s for sure. First off, about a week ago a post about MuiscBrainz bubbled to the top of and that sent masive waves of traffic to us. That died down later in the week until all those people came back on the weekend and overwhelmed the servers. Our puny, but trusted, web server zim is just stretched too thin to handle all the load thrown at it. I apologize for the down-time and random errors you’ve been seeing in the last week.

And all that is about to get worse, but then it should get much better. Today is the day that we’ll attempt to move into the new data center (colocation facility) here in SLO (San Luis Obispo, CA). Starting very shortly after this post we’ll take a stab at moving the site onto new servers that should at least double, if not triple our current capacity to handle traffic.

We expect this move to take nearly three hours, during which you should use our mirror servers (or the staging server) if you need your MusicBrainz fix:

Last, but not least, we have finally updated the test server with the next release scheduled to be released next sunday on 2006-03-05. This release includes:

  • Many bug reports (see trac for a list of recently closed bugs)
  • WikiDocs: The improved replacement to the first generation wiki documentation system
  • Lucene search: A much improved search facility that is faster and vastly more accurate. This first version will not search for stop words or punctuation — we’ll improve this later.
  • XML Web Service: The newly designed and much more efficient based on XML (not RDF!) goes into beta with this release. This new service is vastly improved over the last one and uses common tools and common best practices for web services. This service alone should improve the performance of our systems. For details see the web service documentation. (We’ll also have new native python bindings to go with these!)

We’ll get a much more detailed ChangeLog out as the week progresses. So, happy playing with the new features while we move the site!

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Colocation move

The move to the new colocation facility at Digital West has started! Yesterday I spent quality time with our new servers moving them into a shared rack. We’ll move the service over to these new servers in the coming few days and then we will move the existing servers into this rack as well. Hopefully ends users won’t see much change at all — we hope to limit our downtime to an hour or so while we copy data to the new servers.

Here are some pictures of the move (before we moved in, the back of the rack and the front of the rack):




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Edit of the week

This is the first of (hopefully) a series of posts on interesting or dubious edits (moderations). I don’t know if I’ll be able to deliver a post on a regular basis; the word week in the title might be misleading ๐Ÿ˜‰ Any way, I’d welcome suggestions for edits to discuss.

This first attempt was inspired by edit #4229934, an Add Album edit for artist Sesame Street. Although the edit conforms to the style guidelines, there was an objection: Sesame Street is a so called bogus artist. There simply is no person or group of people performing under that name. Since the album being added is a music release, it is a valid MusicBrainz entry and is therefore ‘allowed’ to be added, even if the album artist is a fictitious artist.

Still open for discussion is the question what a valid fictitious artist is, and what is not. Sesame Street has proven its validity; a lot of albums are released under this name. But what about the different Sesame Street characters like Kermit, Bert, Ernie, etc. and the characters from the television series South Park? It is impossible to formulate a definition and rules for artist names that capture all people, bands, orchestras, fictitious artists and special purpose artists like [unknown], [no artist] and [anon.]. The only certainty is that Three Flute Players and a Singer of the Atutu, Baule and that sort of ‘artists’ definitely do not deserve an artist entry in the database ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy editing.

Server and $1000 donated

Yesterday was another great day for MusicBrainz! We had an anonymous benefactor donate a spiffy Athlon based 1U server with 2GB ram and RAID-1 SCSI drives. Three cheers to anonymous donors!

Also, Matthew Mullenweg donated a cool $1000 to the MetaBrainz Foundation. Its not everyday that someone drops such a large donation on this project. (Hasn’t happened since Derek Sivers did it last year!)

Thank you very much, Matthew and Anonymous Donor!

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Prix Ars Electronica 2006 invitation

MusicBrainz just received an invitation in the Digital Communities category for the Prix Ars Electronica 2006. We certainly fit the bill for this category, but I am not sure I have the time necessary to fill out the application. Would anyone be interested to help out with the application process?

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