Fundraiser for NGS Hardware

Rolling out NGS (Next Generation Schema) onto the main servers is going to be hard if we have to do it with our current hardware. If we can raise $15,000 to purchase new servers we will make this process much easier and with much less down time. Also, our current hardware is starting to get old and more failure prone. By purchasing newer hardware we can serve more users using less power, which will make MusicBrainz be responsible for less pollution!

Please make a donation today to help MusicBrainz raise money to cover the costs for a much needed hardware upgrade:

Our Next Generation Schema, improves MusicBrainz on many fronts. Its a complete re-write of our 11 year old codebase using modern tools (Catalyst, Moose, Template Toolkit) and a drastic improvement of our schema. The new schema fixes many of the problems of the old schema and introduces many new concepts that allow us to model music data better.

For instance, instead of having conflated artist names like “Queen & David Bowie” we will now have Artist Credits, which will link to the artists “Queen” and “David Bowie” individually. Releases will now have mediums and tracklists which will allow us to re-use tracklists in different releases, which makes release more accurate and removes duplication from the database. Tracks have been changed to recordings and if the same recording is used in two different releases the same recording (with the same MBID) will be used in both releases. NGS also introduces new concepts like musical Works, that can represent Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as an abstract Work, which then has been recorded into recordings and releases after his death. The goal is to remove artists like Beethoven and Bach from the list of releases and recordings since they never actually recorded anything while they were alive.

The overall goal is to allow MusicBrainz to grow into a complete music encyclopedia, rather than a CD lookup service that it started out as. This new codebase and schema allows us to grow and add many more features that we’ve not been able to add to the old code base. If you’d like a preview, please take a look at our test server.

All donations are tax deductible since MetaBrainz is a 501(c)3 non-profit! Thank you for your support!

13 thoughts on “Fundraiser for NGS Hardware”

  1. Steve: Thats what I originally wanted to do, but Kickstarter’s terms did not fit well to our goal. They do not allow charities (e.g. 501(c)3) to raise funds there. So I went with chipin…

  2. Georg: We can find someone in Germany you can transfer the money to and then they can send it to us. Let me know if that works for you…

  3. Hey. It would be great to see where exactly this money is going. Is there any info on this somewhere? Are the $15,000 just for hardware? What can you buy with the money and how much? Does it include running costs?

    When I first saw this blog post I thought it was a typo with a zero too much. Especially considering the recent support from Layer42 it seemed a bit odd to suddenly ask for this much cash. But then again, I have no idea how expensive it is to run a service like MusicBrainz… That’s why me wants numbers! 🙂

  4. josh:

    See here how we spent our money in 2009 and before (the 2010 report isn’t done yet):

    But, in specific, the money from this fundraiser is designed to buy 5 new machines. 1 bad ass DB server ($5k) and 4 beefy boxes for web servers/web service machines.

    Migrating to NGS is so complicated that it would be best to have a duplicate infrastructure so that we have the chance to go back to the old MB if the new MB tips over for some reason.

    That, and I mentioned in the post that a lot of our hardware is pretty old. That equates to coming failures, as well as fewer hits served for amp of power consumed. By buying new machines and getting rid of a couple of older beasts we’ll actually be nicer to the environment.

    Oh and the sponsorship from layer42 only entails them hosting one machine. It does not put any money in our pocket.

    Have look at the hodge podge of servers we have now:

    MusicBrainz Servers March 2010


  5. It would be great if this fundraising event were more publicized. I didn’t know about it until I stumbled on the blog. Maybe putting the widget on the main page would get more people to donate. Also, the time frame for earning so much money is quite short.

    Either way, I hope musicbrainz gets the support it needs for such a great service.

    I was also wondering if the developers ever considered migrating to Amazon EC2 servers. It would eliminate the need for hardware and the service is highly scalable.

  6. Vincent: Good idea, I’ll post the fundraiser on the main page too!

    I’m hoping that our corporate partners will kick down the majority of the money for this fundraiser, so the timeframe is not too far out of whack. 🙂

    And yes, I’ve considered EC2, but compared to the discounts on hosting we get it would be a little more than twice what we’re currently paying for our overall hosting costs. EC2 is quite sexy, but we have a good setup that isn’t very expensive for us. I think EC2 may make more sense once we have more funds and need to consider hiring someone to take care of the machines full time. Then EC2 will likely come out ahead.

  7. How about adding Google Checkout for Non-Profits as an option?

    I saw your blog post about Google now matching donations up to $5,000. If they’ll do that they would probably give you a better deal than PayPal does. I bet quite a few people who aren’t willing to deal with PayPal would be willing to pay through Google Checkout.

  8. I agree with bugstomper. I would like to contribute, but setting up PayPal is a lot of hassle if you don’t live in the US. If I could use Google Checkout, I’d contribute.

  9. For anyone who wants to donate without creating a PayPal account:

    I’ve enabled allowing Credit Card donations without creating an account in PayPal. This means more spam for us, but hopefully some of you will feel comfortable donating.

    After we ship NGS, I’ll implement Google Checkout.

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