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2022 Technical Vision
The Plan for a Better Farm

Miraheze is known for its exponential growth rates - lets take a quick delve into the year on year breakdown of statistics - one of which will be focused on more than usual in this blog post.

YearWikisUsersMonthly CostWiki GrowthUser GrowthMonthly Cost Growth
201612501500£34.50---
201722784500£73.50+82%+200%+113%
201848348000£130.00+112%+77%+77%
2019479238000£140.50-0.9%+375%+8%
2020489882000£200.00+2%+116%+42%
20214457170000£320.00-10%+107%+60%

What we are going to be looking at in this post is monthly cost - the core figure that is made up solely by donations from users like yourself. A pattern has developed which we can assume to be as daily active users doubles, our operating costs just under double with the exception of 2018-2019. This trend is one we are struggling to match with our current infrastructure - as an increase to almost £500 a month would almost certainly cripple the project financially.

What is Miraheze doing to minimise cost?

The Infrastructure team has spent quite a lot of time looking into this question - specifically - how can we improve the infrastructure to provide a better experience to our communities, without racking up costs that the project is not able to afford? The conclusion the team came down to was evaluating whether cutting out the middle man in our infrastructure would make a significant saving.

Currently, we are renting physical hardware in a datacentre in London - called a dedicated server - which we rent through OVH. The biggest downside of this is we do not have control over the physical hardware - meaning when we grow too big for the resources we have, we need to begin renting a new one and then transition from the old one to the new one.

As an alternative, we considered how much we could save by renting the physical space in the datacentre instead of renting the hardware and instead purchasing our own. Compared to our monthly cost in July 2021, we do not see any significant deviation in terms of reoccurring cost. This means as we grow and expand, we should be able to maintain the same monthly cost for a few years and just use one time purchases to expand our hardware as and when required - providing an element of flexibility we much would like!

What is the benefit to me?

The main benefit of all of this is improving the financial stability of the project while allowing us to deliver some much needed hardware and infrastructure improvements such as:

  • utilising SSDs for most user facing traffic,
  • increasing the number of front end MediaWiki servers to handle demand change,
  • moving more high intensity work off front end MediaWiki servers to reduce resource competition,
  • potentially deploying CirrusSearch in the 6-12 months to improve searching on wikis.

With owning hardware, we can also freely plan our growth around communities - and not planning our growth around resource availability. This will allow us to do more to deliver the services communities want.

How can I help?

As cliché as it sounds from us, donating is the best help that can be given currently! We are seeking approval from the Board of Directors to spend approximately £7000 over the course of 2022 for initial capital purchasing and then monthly hosting costs. With the spending, we are looking to purchase 5 general purpose servers, an increase from our currently deployed 2 (we have a small specialised machine just for databases). From 2023, we are looking to return to a steady spending rate of around £350/month, which is only a slight increase on our 2021 spending to date.

As well, if anyone has any spare hardware laying around that they no longer use such as rack servers (1U), rack switches or rack/datacentre grade routers, please let us know! Contact @John to discuss this further if you would like to support us through hardware donations so we can discuss specific hardware and specs to see if it would be suitable for our needs.

Written by John on Nov 28 2021, 18:42.
Engineering Manager, Infrastructure
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