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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 18th September 2015

For over a month the CPAN Testers server has been having problems. In most cases the server locked up for no apparent reason. Sometimes it would work for a few days after a reboot, other times it would bearly last 5 minutes.

With the help of a few people, notably Matt S Trout and Doug Bell, we tried to figure out what was going on. I noted that the 'release' table and SQLite database that is created from it, seemed to be the most fragile for the server, as most times when it was touched, the server seemed to lock up within a few seconds. The table and database itself were used for a project Adam Kennedy created several years agao. These days only the bots and crawlers seemed to be interested. As such, I disabled to see whether that would help. It didn't.

We were getting stuck at every corner it seemed. I got Bytemark, our hosts involved to try and check the disks, but all appeared to be running fine. The SATA disks did seem to be very active, but that's normal for us, as there are alot of disk writes to create the sites. As we've had the current server for nearly two years, Bytemark suggest moving to a new server, which has better CPU and RAM capacity, which we've now completed. The server has now been up for over a week, the sites are building and running without a problem, and best yet the reports site is building faster than it has been for a long time.

Although we still have no clear idea why the cpantesters2 kept falling over (it was even falling over when we were rsync-ing the data to cpantesters3, when nothing else was running on either server!), we suspect there is a faulty CPU or RAM module. There isn't much we can do about that, as there isn't a disk check type feature that can find bad blocks and disable them for CPUs and RAM, at least that I'm aware of. So a move to a new server is about all we could have done.

As a result of all this, we have some ideas to help improve the sites and any future rebuilds, so if we do suffer again, we can recover much quicker. I'm currently documenting how the current systems work, and we have at least 5 projects planned to help improve various parts of the eco-system. Some have been long overdue, others are new and fresh ideas to help take CPAN Testers further into the future. There is a lot to learn about scaling with this project ;)

My sincere thanks to MST, Doug, and Chris at Bytemark, for helping out and getting us back online. It's been a frustrating month or so, and I'm just relieved to have the sites back and stable again. My thanks to everyone who stepped up and offered help and support for the project, it really was very much appreciated. Sorry if I didn't get back to you, or weren't able to take advantage of your assistance. Some of the offers of help were taken advantage of, and a couple are planned for future projects to help grow the project. We'll hopefully have more news about them as we start to design and implement them in the coming months. The future looks promising, and it wouldn't be without everyone's support. Thank you.

It's good to be back!

Comments

Thank You!

Thank you for all the work you have put in to CPAN Testers! CPAN Testers is essential for my C/XS modules.
--
chansen

Posted by Christian Hansen (chansen) on Friday, 18th September 2015


Great News

This is great news, want to say how proud of all the people involved with this, and to Bytemark. You guys all rock. Well done.

Posted by Mark Keating on Friday, 18th September 2015


Welcome back

CPANtesters is why Marpa is in Perl, and I am glad to see it back.

The important of CPANtesters to Perl is severely underestimated. Other languages create repositories, sometimes near the quality of CPAN, sometimes in some ways better.  But whenever I hear that "language XYZ" has an XYZpan", I next ask, "And an XYZpantesters?"  Only Perl even tries to test the contents of its repository.

For testing a new module on a wide variety of platforms, the developer can 1) do it himself; 2) write it in Perl; 3) become Debian stable.

Most projects are like Marpa, where the resources to cross-test did not exist initially.  Today Marpa *is* Debian stable, but how it could have become so without CPANtesters being there in the beginning, I do not know.

Posted by Jeffrey Kegler on Monday, 28th September 2015


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