Incident documentation/20170721-Train-Wikidata

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Summary

Several bugs in wikidata (which began with the MediaWiki Train deployment for 1.30.0-wmf.10) resulted in holding back wikidatawiki deployments for multiple weeks. This remained unresolved until 1.30.0-wmf.14 on 2017-08-16.

Timeline

Multiple related issues:

  • 1st: phab:T164173: jobs causing db replag lag
    • First reported on April 30th and after some investigation it was eventually closed with the assumption that it was a one-time fluke caused by an api user's activity. This appears to have been a reasonable assumption given the limited information available at the time.
    • jcrespo reopened on May 19 saying "This just happened again on s4."
    • Krinkle spotted this again on July 21 "This caused an error spike in Logstash: https://logstash.wikimedia.org/goto/709280746172b68115f62db346b06201"
    • https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T164173: Cache invalidations coming from the JobQueue are causing lag on several wikis
  • 2nd: attempt to fix 1 causing phab:T171370
  • 3rd: attempt to fix 2 causing phab:T172320
    • August 2 - mmodell discovered a new error during routine monitoring of the wmf.12 train deployment.
    • https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T172320: Error in Wikibase/client/includes/Changes/InjectRCRecordsJob.php line 120: Bad value for parameter $params: $params['change'] not set.
    • August 3 - A hot fix was written and deployed, but apparently did not work (unclear, maybe Aude knows) https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/369847/
    • A full fix was written and merged into Wikibase master https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/369881/
    • As an additional complication, the Wikidata Build had been broken, so changes merged into Wikibase master would not be deployed. See phab:T172616 for one reason the build was delayed.
  • The Wikidata build was fixed on August 15 (or so - ask Aude), a wikidata wmf.14 branch was cut including the fix, and got deployed with core wmf.14. This seems to have fixed the issue.

graph - https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T171370


Conclusions

  • Wikimedia Release Engineering lacks visibility and understanding necessary for a swift response to release-critical issues in Wikidata.
  • Wikidata's build process is complex & opaque.
    • This adds complexity and delays the deployment of hot-fixes.
  • The Wikidata release cadence is out of sync with the MediaWiki Train.
    • Compatibility of the Wikidata build with MediaWiki core is ensured only on a snaptshot-by-snapshot basis. There is no way to know whether a wmf6 build of Wikidata is compatible with the wmf5 or wmf7 branch of core.
    • This leads to uncertainty and confusion when branching and more importantly, when rolling back a deployment due to errors.

Actionables

  • [Epic] Kill the Wikidata build step: phab:T173818
  • Make sure we notice errors in the logs of the beta cluster; for this case specifically, errors related to the Wikidata change notification mechanism.