The WMF RelEng team plans replacement of the current WMF CI system with one of Argo, GitLab CI, Zuul v3. These were selected in the first phase of the CI WG.

We currently aim to only to do “continuous integration”, not "continuous delivery" or "continuous deployment". Those will be considered later.

Overall solution approach[edit]

The overall approach to the architecture of the CI system, and the workflow supported by it, is to make all changes via version control (git), which includes code, configuration, and scripts for building and deploying. When a change is pushed to version control, CI builds and tests the change, humans review the change, and if all seems to be in order, humans deploy to production.


Stakeholders in the WMF CI system include:

  • RelEng, who are responsible for keeping CI running
  • SRE, who are responsible for the infrastructure on which CI runs
  • MediaWiki developers, who develop MW and its extensions, and will (eventually) be doing MW releases for external MW deployers
  • staff and volunteer developers of anything else built, tested, and deployed by CI
  • WMF, who pays for CI using donations
  • The Wikimedia movement, who use sites and services operated by WMF
  • all of humanity, who benefit from having knowledge freely disseminated


This chapter lists the requirements we have for the CI system and which we design the system to fulfill.

Each requirement is given a semi-mnemonic unique identifier, so it can be referred to easily.

The goal is to make requirements be as clear and atomic as possible, so that the implementation can be more easily evaluated against the requirement: it’s better to split a big, complicated requirement into smaller ones so they can be considered separately. Requirements can be hierarchical: The original requirement can be a parent to all its parts. Further, a way to objectively check if a requirement is met should be outlined.

Note that these requirements are not meant to constrain or dictate implementation. The requirement specifies what is needed, not how it is achieved.

These requirements were originally written up in the WG wiki pages and have been changed compared to that (as of the 21 March 2019 version): Phase 1 report. This document is now the maintained version of the requirements.

Scope of work[edit]

These are non-negotiable requirements that must all be fulfilled by our future CI system.

  • SelfHostable Must be hostable by the Foundation. It’s not acceptable for WMF to rely on an outside service for this, to achieve the security, reliability, and privacy required of Wikimedia.
    • FreeSoftware Must be free software / open source. “Open core” like GitLab can be good enough, as long as we only need the parts that provide software freedom. This is partly due to the SelfHostable requirement, but also because free software is a form of free knowledge, and it’s a WMF value is to prefer open source.
  • GitSupport Must support git. We’re not switching version control systems for CI.
  • SelfServe Must support self-serve CI, meaning we don’t block people if they want CI for a new repo. Due to ProtectProduction, there will probably be some human approval process for new projects, but as much as possible, people should be allowed to do their work without having to ask permission.
    • SelfServePipeline Should allow the developers to define or declare at least parts of the pipeline jobs in the repository: what commands to run for building, testing, etc.
    • Understandable Must be understandable without too much effort to our developers so that they can use CI/CD productively. Acceptance criteria: our developers can use CI productively, after given a short, 1-page tutorial on how to specify build instructions for their software.
    • Migration There needs to be a migration strategy to move existing repositories to the new CI.
  • RepoGroups All automated tests must pass both before and after merging a change, for each repository separately and all the repositories together that get deployed together to production. For example, tests for each extension must pass, but also for mediawiki with all the extensions that we deploy to production, and any supporting services. This can be achieved by various means (run tests twice, or make sure target branch doesn’t change in between). The justification is that there can be changes to another repository while tests for one repository runs, and those changes may break things for this repository.


These are not absolute requirements, and can be negotiated, but only to a minor degree.

  • Rollback: If a change is deployed to production and turns out to cause problems, it is easy and quick to revert the change.
  • Fast Must be fast enough that it isn’t perceived as a bottleneck by developers. We will need a metric for this.
    • ShortCycleTime Must enable us to have a short cycle time (from idea to running in production). CI is not the only thing that affects this, but it is an important factor. We probably need a metric for this.
  • Transparent Must make its status and what-is-going-on visible so that its operation can be monitored and so that our developers can check the status of their builds themselves. Also the overall status of CI, for example, so they can see if their build is blocked by waiting on others.
  • Feedback Must provide feedback to the developers as early as possible for the various stages of a build, especially the early stages (“got the source from git”, “building”, “running unit tests”, etc.). The goal is to give feedback as soon as possible, especially in the case of the build failing.
    • Feedback2 Must support providing feedback via Gerrit, IRC, and email, at the very least. These are our current main feedback channels. We don’t want to replace these other tools at this time.
  • Secure Must be secure enough that we can open it to community developers to use without too much supervision.
    • ProtectProduction Must protect production by detecting problems before they’re deployed, or revert troublesome changes after deployment, and must in general support a sensible CI/CD pipeline. This is necessary both for the safety and security of our production systems, a higher speed of development, and higher productivity. The protection brings developer confidence, which tends to bring even more speed and productivity.
    • EnforceTests Must allow Release Engineering team to enforce tests on top of those specified by system consumers, to allow us to set minimal technical standards. The repository owner mustn’t be able to disable or skip the enforced tests.
    • MaxBuildTime Should have build timeouts so that a build may fail if it takes too long. Among other reasons, this is useful to automatically work around builds that get “stuck” indefinitely.
    • Isolation Builds must done in isolated environments or sandboxes. Jobs should not be able to affect the environment of other jobs.
  • Maintained Must be maintained and supported upstream, and we should expect that to be the case for at least the next five years. The CI system should not require substantial development from the Foundation. Some customization is expected to be necessary.
    • Relationship We should have a good relationship with the CI system’s upstream.
    • KnownLang It would be preferable for the CI system to be implemented in a language known by foundation staff to make customizations, debugging, fixing, etc, easier.
  • Metrics Must enable us to instrument it to get metrics for CI use and effectiveness as we need. Things like cycle times, build times, build failures, etc. FIXME: Start collecting a list of metrics we must have, want to have, or would like to have.
  • WorkflowTooling CI system must not tie us to specific tooling for workflow. We must have the freedom to change tooling in the future without it being a major project.
    • Gerrit Must work with Gerrit as that’s what we have now for change review and will continue to use, unless we want to change at a later date.
    • Phabricator Must work with Phabricator for ticketing, as that’s what we have and will continue to use, unless we want to change at a later date.
  • Promotion Must promote (copy) Docker images and other build artifacts from “testing” to “staging” to “production”, rather than rebuilding them, since rebuilding takes time and can fail or produce a different result. Once a binary, Docker image, or other build artifact has been built, exactly that artifact should be tested, and eventually deployed to production.
  • LocalTests Must allow a developer to replicate locally the tests that CI runs. This is necessary to allow lower friction in development, as well as to aid debugging. For example, if CI builds and tests using Docker container, a developer should be able to download the same image and run the tests locally.
  • AutomatedDeployment Must allow deployment to be fully automated.
    • StopChanges The developers must have a way to stop changes from being merged into a repository, and therefore from being deployed. This is needed, for example, if there’s a problem in the way deployments work, and new changes should wait until the deployment is fixed.
    • StopCD RelEng and SRE must have a way to stop CI from deploying anything, as long as the reason is documented somewhere persistent. As an example, there might be a pause in deployments to production during fundraising campaigns.
    • AutomatedSelfDeployment The CI system itself must be automatically deployable by us or SRE, onto a fresh server.
    • DeployCIBuilt Only build artifacts built and tested by CI may be deployed to production by CI itself.
  • Scalable Must be scalable to the projects and changes we work with. This includes number of projects, number of changes, and kind of changes.
    • HScalable Must be horizontally scalable: we need to be able to add more hardware easily to get more capacity. This is particularly important for build workers, which are the mostly likely bottleneck. Also, probably environments used for testing.
  • ProgLangs Must be able to support all programming languages we currently support or are likely to support in the future. These include, at least, shell, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Java, Scala, PHP, Puppet and Go. Some languages may be needed in several versions.
  • OutputLinks Must support HTTP linking to build results for easier reference and discussion. This way a build log, or a build artifact, can be referenced using a simple HTTP (or HTTPS) link in discussions.
  • ArtifactArchive Should allow archiving build logs, executables, Docker images, static HTML reports, minimized JS, and other build artifacts for a long period.
    • ArtifactStorageManagement The artifact store should delete old artifacts in order avoid filling all storage.
    • Retention The retention period should be configurable based on artifact type, and whether the build ended up being deployed to production.
  • ConfigVC Must keep configuration in version control. This is needed so that we can track changes over time.
  • Gating Must support gating / pre-merge testing. FIXME: This needs to be explained.
  • PeriodicBuilds Must support periodic / scheduled testing. This is needed so that we can test that changes to the environment haven’t broken anything. An example would be changes to Debian, upon which we base our container images.
  • CIMerges Must support tooling to do the merging, instead of developers. We don’t want developers merging by hand and pushing the merges. CI should test changes and merge only if the tests pass, so that the branches for main lines of development are always releasable.
  • TestVC Must support storing tests in version control. This is probably best achieved by having tests be stored in the same git repository where the code is.
  • BuildDeps The repository must declare its build dependencies, and CI must make sure they are provided in the build environment.
  • BuildRecursively After a repository (or project) has been built successfully, build and test anything that depends on it. For example, if MediaWiki core uses a library to generate cat videos randomly, build MW after the library has built successfully.
  • TestServices Must support services for tests — i.e., some PHPUnit tests require MySQL. These are most important for integration tests. Proper unit tests do not depend on any external stuff. However, integration tests may well need MediaWiki, some specific extensions, and backing services, such as databases, “oid” services, and possibly more. CI needs to be able to provide such environments for testing as defined by developers.
  • CacheDeps Must support dependency caching of popular package repositories: Debian, npm, pypi, and probably more. This is needed for speed, if nothing else. However, this needs to be done securely.
  • GoodOps: The CI system needs to be maintained in a proper way, with monitoring, multiple people who can get notified of problems and can fix things.
    • Monitoring: The CI system needs to have monitoring so that SRE can see what's happening.
    • OnCall: There must be multiple, named people who can be alerted to deal with problems in CI that users can’t deal with themselves. These people need to cover enough time zones to be available at almost all times, and have enough overlap to cover for each other when they’re not available due to illness, vacation, travel, or other such reasons.
    • SLA: RelEng provides a service-level agreement, for how well CI serves WMF and the movement.
  • CleanState Builds and tests must run in a clean, well-defined environment.
    • CleanBuildEnv Must provide a build environment with only explicitly declared build dependencies installed.
    • CleanWorkspace Must provide a clean workspace for each build or test run - either a clean VM or container. The workspace should have the source code of the project to be built, with the right commit checked out from version control, and anything else explicitly declared, but nothing else.
  • Secrets Must support secure storage of credentials / secrets.
  • AllTests When merging a change, all tests for all components must pass. For example, when changing one MediaWiki extension, which is depended on by another extension, the change should be rejected if either extension’s tests fail.
  • Embargo Would be nice to be able to run for secret/security patches. This means CI should be able to build and deploy changes that can’t be made public yet, for security embargo reasons.
  • DebianPackages Support building and publishing Debian packages (.deb) for software.

Wishlist items[edit]

These requirements are easily negotiated and can be left unfulfilled if hard to achieve.

  • LiveLog Should have live console output of build so it can be viewed while the build is running, without having to wait until the build is finished.
  • RateLimit Should have rate limiting - one user/project can not take over most/all resources.
  • CheckSig Should support validation and creation of GPG/PGP-signed git commits as well as artifacts and generated containers.
  • LimitBoilerplate Would be nice for test abstractions to limit boiler-plate, i.e., all of our services are tested roughly the same way without having to copy instructions to every repository.
  • PrioritizeJobs Would be nice to prioritize jobs.
    • Use case: if there is a queue of jobs, there should be some mechanism of jumping that queue for jobs that have a higher priority.
    • We currently have a Gating queue that is a higher priority than periodic jobs that calculate Code Coverage.
    • We could run jobs that have historically been fast in a separate queue.
  • PostMergeBisect Would be nice to post-merge git-bisect to find patch that caused a particular problem with, say, a Selenium test.
  • DeployWherever Would be nice to have a mechanism for deployment to staging, production, toollabs. We could do with a way to deploy to any of several possible environments, for various use cases, such as bug reproduction, manual exploratory testing, capacity testing, and production.
  • TestInstances Should provide test instances for proposed changes. If a developer pushes change 12765 to Gerrit, CI should build something like with the change running a sufficiently production-like environment that the change can be tested “for real” by testers and volunteering users. This might only happen for changed marked specially.
  • Mobile Would be nice to support building and testing mobile applications (at minimum for iOS and Android).

The CI pipeline[edit]

FIXME: insert pipeline image of the default pipeline

CI will provide a default pipeline for all projects. Projects may use that or specify another one. Each project will be able to pick the stages it wants in its pipeline, though this may be overridden by Release Engineering or SRE to protect the sites (ProtectProduction requirement).

The pipeline will be divided into several stages. Mandatory stages for all changes and all projects are the commit and acceptance test stages. Other stages may be added to specific changes or projects as needed.

The commit stage[edit]

The commit stage builds any deployable artifacts, such as executable binaries, minimized JavaScript, translation files, or Docker images. It is important that artifacts don’t get rebuilt by later stages, because rebuilding does not always result in bitwise identical output, and any change in the artifacts may invalidate any testing that has been done. Instead the goal is to build once, test the artifacts, and deploy the tested artifacts, instead of rebuilding and maybe deploying something different than what was tested.

The commit stage also runs lint and unit tests, and any other tests that can be run in isolation from other parts of the system, and that are also quick. The commit stage does not have access to backing services, such as databases or other components of the overall system. For example, when the pipeline processes a change to a MediaWiki extension, the commit stage doesn’t have access to a running MediaWiki core or the MariaDB MediaWiki uses. Integration or system tests should be done in the acceptance test stage.

The commit stage also runs code health checks. (Unless they are too slow.)

The commands to build (compile) or run automated tests are stored in the repository, either explicitly, or by indicating the type of build needed. There might, for example, be a .pipeline/config.yaml file in the repository, which specifies that make is the command that builds the artifacts. Otherwise, the file may specify that it’s a Go project, and CI would know how to build a Go project. In this case RelEng can change the commands to build a Go project by changing CI only, without having to change each git repository with a Go program.

Only the declarative style will be possible for building Docker images (e.g., .pipeline/blubber.yaml), as we want control over how that is done (Secure requirement).

CI may enforce specific additional commands to run, to build or test further things; this can be used by RelEng to enforce certain things. For example, we may enforce code health checks, or enable (or disable) debug symbols in all builds. Such enforcement will be done in collaboration with our developers.

Any build dependencies needed during the commit stage must be specified explicitly. For example, the minimum required version of Go that should be installed in the build environment would be a build dependency. If a project build-depends on another project, it needs to specify which project, and which artifacts it needs installed from the other project. Explicit build-dependencies are more work, but result in fewer problems due to broken heuristics.

A code health stage[edit]

If the commit stage is too restrictive for running some code health tools, they can be run a separate stage instead. Or possibly moved to the acceptance test stage, or a separate stage that can run in parallel with other stages. We’ll figure it out during implementation when we see what’s needed.

An integration stage[edit]

We may want to optionally have an integration stage. This would be like the acceptance stage, but run tests that are more developer oriented than acceptance tests are. For example, some of browser-based (Selenium) tests may fit here. But if they fit well into a project’s acceptance stage, they can go there.

The acceptance test stage[edit]

During the acceptance test stage CI deploys artifacts built in the commit stage to an isolated production-like system that has the same versions of all software as production, except for the changes being processed by the pipeline. CI will then run automated acceptance tests, and other integration and system tests, against the deployed software. The test environment is clean and empty, and well-known, unless and until the test suite inserts data or makes changes.

CI Architecture[edit]

The WMF development ecosystem[edit]

FIXME: Insert pic of the WMF development ecosystem

The figure above is simplistic, but gives a general idea of what happens when a developer has finished with a change:

  1. developer pushes a change to Gerrit, which triggers CI
  2. CI builds and tests change (commit stage)
  3. after a successful code review, CI merges changes to the branch, and runs all automated tests again, and if successful, pushes the merge to Gerrit

The commit and acceptance test stages are triggered as soon as a developer pushes changes to be reviewed. Human reviews won’t be requested automatically until the two stages pass, as there’s no point in spending human attention on things that are not going to be candidates for deployment to production. Reviews for changes marked work-in-progress won’t be requested automatically. Developers may request reviews of work-in-progress changes when they want.

CI internal components[edit]

FIXME: this needs to be re-thought and re-written

Use cases[edit]

FIXME: Discuss security embargoed changes.


We have many projects, used to run many sites and services, and much concurrent development is happening. To simplify (and systematize) the discussion, the following classification and terminology is used in this document. It may not be applicable in other contexts.

Lone, concurrent, and coupled changes[edit]

A change may be happening alone: no other change that affects the same repository, site, or service is happening at the same time. This is called a lone change.

Often, two or more changes are happening at the same time. If they don't depend on each other, they are called concurrent changes. If they do depend on each other, they are called coupled changes.

FIXME: Coupled changes aren't discussed anywhere yet.

Simple and complex sites and services[edit]

Our source code is stored in git repositories hosted on Gerrit. Services, and the software running sites (such as MediaWiki) may be built out of one or several repositories. For example, MediaWiki is often deployed with a set of extensions, each of which comes from a separate repository.

Also, one repository may produce more than one service, depending on how it is built or configured.

A site or service that is built out of one repository is called simple, even if that repository can build multiple services. Sites and services that are built out of more than one repository is called complex.

Successful, failing, rejected, and conflicting changes[edit]

When a developer considers a change to be ready to be deployed to production, they push it to Gerrit for build, test, review, and deployment. Gerrit tells CI to build and test the change. If the build or automated tests fail, the change as a whole fails, and the processing it ends there. The developer is notified, and if they want to, they can fix the problem and push an update to the change, at which point the process starts over, as if the new version of the change was a completely new change.

If the CI build and test works, Gerrit asks other developers to do a code review of the change. If a code reviewer votes CR+2, processing of the change continues (see below). A CR-1 vote rejects the change, which ends the process (but the developer may fix the problem and push a new change, starting the process over). In all other cases the change is stalled at the code review phase, possibly for a long time. (It is not the job of Gerrit or CI to chase after reviewers, but we may build something for that later.)

After a CR+2 vote, CI does a merge of the change in a local copy of the git repository to the master branch. If the merge fails, possibly because the master branch has moved on, the change is conflicting, processing it ends, and the developer is notified. The developer may push a fix, but that either A or B happens. We need to discuss which one we choose.

A: The whole process starts over, and the code review that was already done is forgotten. The justification for this is that the new version of the change may be radically different and a fresh code review is warranted. On the other hand, a re-review of a change that isn't radically new should be quick and not much work, as Gerrit allows you to see the differences between to versions of a change.

B: The developer may push a new version of the change, but it will not trigger a new code review. CI will still need to build, test, and merge the new version of the change successfully, but if it does, the process continues as if the merge hadn't failed. This would require us to trust our developers to remember to ask for a review if they make radical changes in the new change version.

Otherwise, CI builds and tests it's local, modified copy of master, and if this fails, notifies the developer, at which point A or B above happens again, same as for a merge conflict.

If merge, build, and test are all successful, CI deploys the change to production. This is called a successful change. A successful change is not expected to get updated again.

If there are problems found in production, it will be handled either by making a new change to fix the problem, or reverting the change where the problem occurred. In either case, the change (or revert) is pushed to Gerrit as a new change, and processed from there as any other change.

Reverting the change is a form of rollback. We can also do rollback by telling Kubernetes to switch to using container based on a previous Docker image version. Either way, we need to have a reliable, and fast, way of handling rollbacks. (Ideally, also a way of triggering rollbacks automatically, but it is probably sufficient to trigger manually, at least initially.)

A change to a repository that is used by more than one site or service[edit]

As a rule, when a repository is changed, all sites and services built from the repository need to be re-built and re-tested and re-deployed, unless CI can somehow prove it's unnecessary.

For example, if a two Wikipedia sites both use the same extension, and a change is proposed to the extension, software running both sites need to be built and tested and deployed. It's not enough that one site works.

CI will act *as if* it only merges changes one at a time, including running post-merge builds, tests, and deployments. Only after the change has been successfully deployed will CI start processing the next change.

This may be much too slow, and thus CI may do things concurrently, as long as the effect is the same. It can't merge one change, and while doing the build, test, or deployment of that change, merge another. This is because if it does, and there is a problem with the first change, this may affect the second change, including preventing the second change from working at all.

CI can optimize this by only applying changes to non-overlapping sets of repositories. For example, say site A uses the repositories mediawiki-core, mw-ext-maps, and mw-ext-math; site B uses mediawiki-core and mw-ext-video; and service C uses only blubberoid. A change for site A that affects mediawiki-ext-maps has to finish deploying before any change to site B (meaning mediawiki-core or mw-ext-video) is processed, since A and B share the mediawiki-core repository. However, while the change to site A is being processed, a change to site C (blubber) can be process concurrently, as it does not affect anything for site A, and vice versa.

META: We should possibly model this and do some experiments to see if it works well enough.

Non-successful changes[edit]

Any change (or version of change) where a build or automated tests fail, or code review rejects the change, terminates processing of the change, until and unless the developer pushes a new version of the change. If they do, the new version is processed as if the previous versions had never existed.

If a change fails after a CR+2 code review vote, it is handled as described above (option A or B).

Processing a change[edit]

All changes get handled using the process, as follows.

 given a service baroid from foo.git on Gerrit (head of master being REF0)
 and production runs REF0 of baroid
 when developer pushes change CHANGE1 for foo.git to Gerrit, giving commit REF1
 then Gerrit triggers CI to build and test CHANGE1
 and CI votes V+1 on CHANGE1
 when reviewer votes CR+2 on CHANGE1
 then CI merges the CHANGE1 locally to master, giving master tip REF1
 and CI builds and tests its local master branch
 and CI deploys the artifacts from its local master to production
 and production runs version REF1 of baroid
 and CI pushes the merge to Gerrit
 and Gerrit has tip for master for foo.git as REF1

FIXME: This doesn't yet handle complex sites and services. It also doesn't handle mutexing against other concurrent changes.

Other aspects to consider for CI[edit]

Security embargoed change[edit]

NOTE: There is yet no good solution described here. Further thought is needed.

A general goal of the future CI system is to make all changes go via git, so that they can be tracked. At the same time, we must not break an embargo on security fixes. The embargo means the fixes probably need to be in private git repositories, unless we can in the future have secure private branches, which Gerrit currently doesn't provide in a way that we trust. The embargo also means we can't publish a Docker image with the fixes applied, since the PHP, JS, and other code is in cleartext in the Docker image. Alternative approaches that fulfill these requirements are listed here for discussion.

  • We could not publish Docker images at all. This makes it harder for our developers to develop, test, and debug issues locally. Probably not acceptable.
  • We could only publish Docker images when they don't have embargoed security fixes. This would still mean local development etc is hampered, but also leaks the information that there is an embargoed fix in the pipeline. Probably not acceptable.
  • We could build, test, and publish a Docker image from public sources, and build, test, and deploy to production a second one, with the security changes applied. The fundamental problem here is that the published Docker image, which our developer would use for local development, is different from what actually runs in production. However, this would be a temporary problem that only lasts as long as the embargo. This is effectively what we currently have. Security patches are applied by the train conductor during deployment, on top of the code that is in public git repositories.

If we go for the last option, someone with access to security patches would need to be responsible for dealing with problems found in the second Docker image, but not in the first one. Basically, the process would be something like:

  • build public Docker image
  • deploy public image to a test environment
  • run acceptance tests against that test environment
  • build private Docker image by applying security patches
  • deploy private image to a second test environment
  • run acceptance tests against second test environment
  • deploy private image to production

If anything goes wrong with the building, testing, or deploying of the second image, it needs to be debugged by someone with access to the security patches. Ideally, this would be the person or people who wrote the security patch in the first place, possibly backed by the release engineering team.

Artifact storage[edit]

FIXME: This needs to be written fully.

  • Artifacts are all the files created during the build process that may be needed for automated testing or deployment to production or any other environment: executable binaries, minimized JavaScript, automatically generated documentation from source code.
  • We basically need to store arbitrary blobs for some time. We need to retrieve the blobs for deployment, and possibly other reasons.
  • We may want to store artifacts that get deployed to production for a longer time than other artifacts so that we can keep a history what was in production at any recent-ish point in time.
  • We will want to trace back from each artifact which git repository and commit, and CI job/build, it came from.
  • We can de-duplicate artifacts (a la backup programs) to save on space. Even so, we will want to automatically expire artifacts on some flexible schedule to keep storage needs in control.
  • We need to decide when we can make these artifacts publicly accessible.
  • Artifact storage must be secure, as everything that gets deployed to production goes via it.
  • There are some artifact storage systems we can use.

Credentials management and access control[edit]

Credentials and other secrets are needed to allow access to servers, services, and files. They are highly security sensitive data. The CI system needs to protect them, but allow controlled use of them.

Example: a CI job needs to deploy a Docker image with a tested and reviewed change as a container orchestrated by production Kubernetes. For this, it needs to authenticate itself to the Kubernetes API. This is typically done by a username/password combination, but might be an API token of some kind (though it doesn’t really matter; it’s all just secret bits at some level). How will the future CI system handle this?

Example: for tests, and in production, a MediaWiki container needs access to a MariaDB database, and MW needs to authenticate itself to the database. MW gets the necessary credentials for this from its configuration, which CI will install during deployment. The configuration will be specific for what the container is being used: if it’s for testing a change, the configuration only allows access to a test database, but for production it provides access to the production database.

Builds are done in isolated containers. These containers have no credentials. Build artifacts are extracted from the containers and stored in an artifact storage system by the CI system, and this extraction is done in a controlled environment, where only vetted code is run, not code from the repository being tested. The build environment can’t push artifacts directly to the artifact store.

Deployments happen in controlled environments, with access to the credentials needed for deployment. The deployment retrieves artifacts from the artifact storage system. The deployments are to containers, and the deployed containers don’t have any credentials, unless CI has been configured to install them, in which case CI installs only the credentials for the intended use of the container.

Note that credentials should not come directly from the source code of the deployed program. CI deploys configuration when it deploys the software. This way, the same software (build artifacts) can be deployed to different environments. (This may be complicated by the way MediaWiki is configured, using a PHP file in the source tree. This will need discussion.)

Tests run against software deployed to containers, and those containers only have access to the backing services needed for the test, and may even be firewalled to not have access to any other network locations.

Suggestion: Deployments will be done dedicated deployment environments, which run a “pingee” service. When a pipeline executes a deployment stage, deploying to any environment, the stage runs in a suitable container, but doesn’t actually do the deployment itself. Instead, it “pings” a deployment service, with information on who is deploying, what, and where. The deployment service then inspects the change, and if it looks acceptable, does the actual deployment to the desired environment. The deployment service has access to the credentials it needs for accessing the artifacts and doing the deployment. There may be several deployment services, for deploying to environments with different security needs.

CI implementation[edit]

FIXME This needs to be written, but it needs a lot of thinking and experimentation first. RelEng is prototyping with GitLab, Argo, and Zuul v3.

Transitioning to new CI system[edit]

FIXME This needs to be written. The migration plan will depend on the details of the new system, and so will need to wait until we’ve chosen what to implement. As it stands, there are at least the following questions to solve:

  • MediaWiki isn’t going to be ready to deploy to a container for many months. How will we deal with this? Continue doing manual deployments? Automate the deployment to non-containers?
  • MediaWiki does not currently seem to have a test suite that gives us sufficient confidence to do automated deployments. What can and should we do about this?


FIXME this needs to be written.

This chapter discusses how maintenance of the new CI system will be divided between various teams.