General site update

Its been a rocky week in the MusicBrainz universe, that’s for sure!

About three weeks ago the load on our database server started rising — most likely due to the fact that after the April 1 release people went nutz adding labels to the database and vastly more AR links than before. The onslaught of this extra data pushed our database over an invisible threshold and things started getting shaky.

In order for a database to be running smoothly and efficiently it should mostly fit into RAM and not require the database server to fetch much data from disk continually. Once the threshold is hit where data needs to be continually fetched from disk, everything slows down drastically.

That’s basically what happened three weeks ago — the database outgrew the server we have for it. At first we thought that some feature from the April 1 release was bogging down the server, so we did some triaging with no luck. Finally we decided to throw out nearly 1 GB of useless Add TRM edit data, which shrunk the database size back down to a manageable level.

This, of course, is nothing more than a band aid. In a few weeks this problem will be back. Anticipating this moment for over a year now, I’ve been pushing for a large server donation. The Sun server donation was supposed to perfectly take care of that. But we were having serious issues with getting the database to run well on the Sun box. But, with help of some Sun engineers we’ve gotten past this problem and are now in the final stages of preparing the Sun server for production use.

But, in this middle of all this more disaster struck. Lingling, which was taking over for Stimpy as our primary web server, had a power supply fail early in the morning this past Sunday. Stimpy, with redundant power supplies, was sitting idle waiting to be put back into service after he got a new motherboard from Dell. With all the other problems we didn’t have the time to switch Stimpy back in for Lingling — we had scheduled that to happen about 12 hours after Lingling failed.

Lingling has a new powersupply arriving tomorrow. Moose, the Sun server, may go into service this weekend or early next week. Once we get these two tasks done, the site performance should be back to being zippy.

Until then, I apologize for the inconvenience!

Google steps up its support of MusicBrainz!

I’m pleased to announce that Google has just pledged $30,000 to the MetaBrainz Foundation! This doubles the amount that Google gave us last year and reinforces Google’s commitment to supporting MusicBrainz. Combined with Google’s Summer of Code Project, Google is supporting MusicBrainz to the tune of $45,000 for 2007!

This donation will allow us to:

  • Hold Summit 8 that will build on and review the work done in Summit 7 and lay out a concrete roadmap for implementing the Next Generation Schema. MetaBrainz will pay for key players to attend this upcoming summit.
  • Increase the salary for Robert Kaye to more competitive rate.
  • Hire a part time developer to work on MusicBrainz and drive the implementation of the Next Generation Schema.

Thank you very much Google! Thank you to Chris DiBona, Leslie Hawthorn and Tiffany Griffith at Google’s Open Source group.

Creative Commons license for MusicBrainz Wiki

Previously we had not set a license for text/data in our Wiki. In order to make things explicit dmppanda has added a new MusicBrainzWikiLicense page that explictly sets the license to be the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license. This makes the content in our wiki consistent with the data in our database.

If you have contributed to the Wiki and object to this license being set, please Contact Us and we will work out the conflict.

Classic Tagger degraded

All the usual tricks to massage our database server aren’t helping. 😦

The problem appears to be the ever growing table of TRMs that the Classic Tagger uses. The table has gotten too big with dead TRMs and its really hard to remove all the dead TRMs. So, in order to get things back to a sane state, we’ve disabled TRM functionality and our database is now working fairly well again.

Classic Tagger users: While we figure out how to proceed, the tagger will stop working. The classic tagger will not recognize any tracks right now — we apologize for the inconvenience. At this point, please check out the Picard and PicardQT as alternatives!

Stay tuned for more details!

Scheduled downtime: Friday 2000 UTC, 4pm EDT, 1pm PDT

We need to dump the database and re-import it in order to get off this crazy load spike the database has been on. We will be down for about 90 minutes starting today (Friday) at 2000 UTC, 4pm EDT, 1pm PDT.

Sorry for the inconvenience and late notice!

UPDATE: The import/export is taking longer than we care for. We hope to be done soon. Sorry for the hassle.

Overloaded database server

The load on our database server has been growing over the last few days causing slow downs. Since our overall traffic is not going up right now, this suggests that our last update caused some performance issues.

In order to analyze our traffic, I will be doing some performance tuning and query logging to attempt to get to the bottom of this problem. To that affect, MusicBrainz will have a couple of short downtimes today as I tinker with our database server.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Rachel Segal of MusicIP becomes the MetaBrainz Treasurer/Secretary

I’m proud to announce that Rachel Segal has just been voted to take the Treasurer/Secretary slot on the MetaBrainz Board of Directors. Rachel is the Marketing and Artist Relations manager for MusicIP and is already quite familiar with MusicBrainz and the MetaBrainz Foundation.

Rachel Segal will be taking over the duties of the outgoing secretary/treasurer Rachel Soffa. Rachel Soffa has recently landed a big promotion which will make her life even more busy than before, thus necessitating this change.

Thank you very much Rachel Soffa and congratulations on your promotion! Thank you to Rachel Segal for joining our organization and helping out with our operations!

Google Summer of Code Projects have been accepted

I’m pleased to announce that we have accepted three Google Summer of Code projects:

  1. Using Collaborative Filtering to generate Relationships between artists for MusicBrainz by Sharon Myrtle Paradesi
  2. Working on implementing simplified NGS by Erik Dalén
  3. Improved Statistics and Trivia by Guelson Fostine

Lukáš will mentor Erik and Guelson and I will be mentoring Sharon. By accepting three of our proposals Google is indirectly sponsoring MusicBrainz with another $15,000! (Each student gets $4,500 and each mentor gets $500 per student)

Thank you very much Google and good luck to Sharon, Erik and Guelson!

Our servers are overloaded!

This weekend we’ve seen a rise in tagger traffic to the MusicBrainz site. This extra traffic is causing load spikes that give us the dreaded 502 proxy error messages. Now that the release is done I can focus more time on getting our various hardware issues solved and bring a new database server online before the load spikes return next weekend.

What can you do? There are three concrete things:

  1. Make a donation to help us cover our costs.
  2. Stop tagging for today and spend some time with your friends and family for Easter. 🙂
  3. If you must continue tagging, please use our UK mirror: In the options dialog of your favorite tagging application, look for the tab that lets you set the server you’re using to tag. Enter in that field and you should be good to go.

Sorry for the inconvenience, we’ll work on this as soon as possible!