Help:Cloud Services introduction
Wikimedia Cloud Services (WMCS) provides tools, services, and support for technical collaborators who want to contribute in Wikimedia software projects. Use Cloud Services to host your software tools for the Wikimedia movement, without charge.
Are you unsure? Check #Which service is right for you? below.
Toolforge is one of the projects hosted by Wikimedia Cloud VPS. It is a shared hosting (platform as a service) environment for volunteers to develop and run tools, continuous bots, web services, scheduled jobs, and data analysis.
To use Toolforge you will need some programming knowledge, an understanding of Unix command line, and version control via Gerrit and Git.
Users of the Toolforge project create so-called "tool" accounts (technically service groups). These accounts allow one or more users to collaborate to manage the software source code, configuration, and jobs for that tool or bot.
The Toolforge administrators manage a pool of virtual servers which provide a shared project hosting environment that can be used by Toolforge users. These resources include web servers, databases and other data storage, and a distributed job processing system. These services provide a reliable and scalable hosting environment for volunteers to develop and operate their tools and bots.
For additional documentation and help with Toolforge, see Portal:Toolforge.
Cloud VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a cloud computing environment powered by OpenStack. It offers collaboratively owned collections of virtual private servers. You can use this infrastructure to create and maintain open source software projects that help the Wikimedia movement.
The environment includes access to a variety of data services. Cloud VPS allows developers and system administrators to try out improvements to Wikimedia infrastructure (including MediaWiki), power research and analytics, and host projects that are not viable in the Toolforge environment.
Cloud VPS is for the advanced users to get involved in Wikimedia operations and software development. Cloud VPS contains many projects, each of which uses one or more instances.
Cloud VPS instances go through a request and approval processes. Instances are not permanent and are reviewed periodically for potential deletion/removal. Cloud VPS instances are resource intensive. Before requesting, explore whether Toolforge or another service will adequately meet your needs.
How is Cloud VPS organized?
Cloud VPS is divided into projects. Each project has separate members and administrators who can create and maintain virtual machines ("instances") for use by that project. Each project can have its own access policies, DNS records, etc.
What is a Cloud VPS project?
A project is a unit of privilege separation inside the Cloud VPS environment. Each project has separate management of membership, virtual machines, HTTPS proxies, firewall rules, etc. Examples of projects include Toolforge and the Beta Cluster.
How does Cloud VPS work?
Cloud VPS is a virtualization cluster and hosts various virtual machines (called instances) using OpenStack Compute. This is slightly different from your normal servers that you ssh to (i.e. Toolserver), as virtual machines do not exist physically, but reside inside a much bigger machine called the host machine. More details about the physical setup of Cloud VPS can be found under Portal:Cloud VPS/Infrastructure.
What is the difference between Cloud VPS and Toolforge?
Cloud VPS is an Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution. It provides virtual machines, storage, firewall, and HTTPS proxy resources to projects. The members of each individual project are responsible for managing applications, data, runtime, middleware, and operating systems themselves.
Toolforge is a Platform as a service (PaaS) solution. It provides web servers, databases and other data storage, and a distributed job processing system as managed services that can be used by tools and their maintainers.
Data Services are a collection of products which provide access to copies of Wikimedia's production wiki databases (with private information redacted) and access to Wikimedia data dumps. Use data services to create replicas of the production databases and other data for analysis and experimentation.
There are also services to interact with data in a web browser: Quarry and PAWS.
Quarry is a public querying interface for Wiki Replicas, a set of live replica SQL databases of public Wikimedia wikis. Quarry is designed to make running queries against Wiki Replicas easy. Quarry also allows researchers to share and review each other's queries.
Quarry queries are run by individual users. They can be saved and published and forked by other users.
To use Quarry you need only a Wikimedia login and a web browsers. A basic understanding of SQL is recommended. Learn about SQL queries.
PAWS is a Jupyter notebook installation hosted by Wikimedia. PAWS notebooks can be used for creating tutorials, running live code, creating data visualizations, running bots using Pywikibot, and more.
A single PAWS notebook is maintained by a single user, but they can be downloaded and forked by other users.
To use PAWS you need only a Wikimedia login and a web browser. Knowledge of Python is helpful, but not required.
Which service is right for you?
|Activity / Needs||PAWS (DaaS)||Quarry (DaaS)||Toolforge (PaaS)||Cloud VPS (IaaS)|
|Data as a service||Data as a service||Platform as a service||Infrastructure as a service|
|Write documentation and create tutorials||✔|
|Write queries against replica databases||✔||✔||✔||✔ via Toolforge|
|Access on database dump files||✔||✔|
|Write and run bots||✔||✔ easily||✔ manually|
|Run web services||✔ easily||✔ manually|
|Build tools to improve Wikimedia projects||✔ easily||✔ manually|
|Schedule or run continuous jobs||✔ easily||✔ manually|
|Need your own subdomain||✔||✔|
|Work with co-maintainers and co-admins||✔||✔|
|Install packages not provided by Debian or the Wikimedia Foundation||✔|
|Administer your own virtual server||✔|
Set up your Toolforge or Cloud VPS projects by following the instructions on Help:Getting Started.
Communication and support
Support and administration of the WMCS resources is provided by the Wikimedia Foundation Cloud Services team and Wikimedia Movement volunteers. Please reach out with questions and join the conversation:
- Toolforge Portal — Information about Toolforge and links to help and technical documentation.
- Cloud VPS Portal — Information about Cloud VPS and links to help and technical documentation.
- Data Services Portal — Information about Data Services and links to help and technical documentation.
- See the glossary for detailed definitions of terms which are specific to Toolforge and Cloud VPS.
- 🎬 Video: Wikimedia Cloud Services introduction (2019)
- 📣 Slides: An introduction to Cloud Services presentation (2019)
From 2011 until early 2017, Wikimedia Cloud Services was known as Wikimedia Labs. However, the term Labs was used for several different things.
Since 2017, the former Wikimedia Foundation Labs team and Tool Labs Support team merged into the Wikimedia Cloud Services team.