Aug 042008

Here are some notes from a meeting I had with representatives from IT and Webdev at the Mozilla Summit. This will give everyone a bit of insight into the plans for the rollout process.

Before the transition starts, MindTouch is going to do another conversion of the slightly out of date MDC dump they currently have. This will let us test revisions to their converter to handle tag importing better. This in theory will happen in the next couple of days. I’m trying to pin MindTouch down on how long the work on the tag importing will take.

Once we have that conversion, it will be installed so we can test to be sure it works.

Once that’s done, Webdev will be doing some testing, mostly to make sure there aren’t any security issues they can find. They estimate this will take approximately one day to complete. While that goes on, IT will be working on the following:

  • Load testing. They will make sure the new site can at least match the performance of the current MDC site. We’ve done this testing before satisfactorily but there have been changes since then, so we’re going to do it again. As long as the new site can handle at least 7-8 requests per second, we’re good to go. I believe it can handle many, many more than that.
  • The site will be run off at least two machines. We currently have one. IT will need to get another one (either from its vast cache of unallocated hardware, or by picking one up somewhere — I don’t want to ask too many questions).
  • Set up the new hardware, install MindTouch Deki onto it as well as our skin, and so forth.

Once IT is ready and Webdev has signed off, the launch process can begin. This will likely start around August 10th or 11th, since it will take a few days to complete:

  1. IT will make the current MDC site read-only. This is necessary because we don’t want changes to be made that will be lost during the transition. For a few days, no edits to the documentation will be possible. This can’t be helped.
  2. IT will then dump the MDC database and send that as well as a tarball of all the attachments to MindTouch. MindTouch will convert this content into Deki format for us. Note: MindTouch is under non-disclosure; user names, addresses, and so forth are protected material and will be kept confidential. The conversion process takes a couple of days because our database is so large.
  3. Once MindTouch sends back the converted content, IT will install it.
  4. IT will make the new server available for testing purposes.
  5. I will confirm that the wiki is configured correctly; this includes installing our custom toolbar, adjusting various settings, and so forth.
  6. I will then rebuild the site index; this is necessary after the import from MediaWiki.
  7. I will also apply a few corrections to various templates that need hand-tweaking after the import. This will not necessarily cover all cases where things need hand-revising, but I’ll get the ones that I know of.
  8. Then we will do some basic sanity checks. Make sure nothing is obviously broken, etc. We’ll invite people to test the site during the time leading up to the official launch on August 14th.
  9. On August 14th, during the nightly maintenance cycle, the new MDC will launch, and will take you to the new site.

The current MDC will be kept around for a while, just in case something goes catastrophically wrong with the transition and we’re forced to revert to it. This is highly unlikely, as we’ve tested the heck out of the new setup, but it can’t hurt to be cautious.

 Posted by at 11:25 PM

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