Apache Infrastructure Team

Monday April 04, 2022

New and enhanced GitBox platform sees the light of day

As we head into April and the middle of the spring of 2022, we are pleased to announce that we have migrated our writable git repository service, gitbox.apache.org, to a new location, a new cluster of hardware bits, and a new platform. The migration took around 35 minutes to complete, and while completely seamless and hidden to most users, it does add some new features that we have not had before, as well as redesigning some existing ones.


New, faster hardware behind the scenes

The first big change is the change in the hardware powering our services. We have more than tripled our computing performance, increased our disk read/write throughput by more than 17x, and increased our network throughput ten-fold. In basic terms, this means we can process pushes of new commit much faster, whether they originate from GitHub or are pushed directly to gitbox by a committer, both in terms of storing them, but also in terms of communicating the changes to our end-users, the developers. It also makes our service much more resilient towards high demands at peak office hours.


New, modern, and modular micro-services

While this sounds like a game of "buzzword bingo", it really represents many months of careful planning and upgrading of the complex designs behind GitBox, pushing them into the very forefront of back-end synchronization setups. All of our main components (code synchronization, event notification, provenance and quality assurance communications, as well as repository and account management) have been split into distinct "pipservices", which is a term we use internally at the Apache Infrastructure Team for denoting single packages of services, or "apps", that are installed and run independently of each other. These all tie into our configuration management system, and can be enabled, tweaked/upgraded or disabled quickly and as demand dictates. This change simplifies our day-to-day workflows and allows to much easier assessment of resource consumption and aids debugging by separating both processes and security environments.



New unified portal for all repository and account management needs

With GitBox version 2 we have also launched a new portal for managing repositories and accounts, called Boxer. With Boxer, our developers can link their GitHub accounts with their Apache credentials, providing them with write access to GitHub. We have removed the old, cumbersome process of linking, and replaced with a flow-based approach that instantly allows a new developer to join a team. Where the old process typically required hours of waiting for our central team management system to catch up, linking and getting slotted into the right teams can now be done in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, and requires no other action than visiting our Boxer portal on gitbox.



Private git repositories

A final thing we'd like to mention is the new ability for projects to use a private git repository for issues or a more sensitive nature. Each project can now have their own private repository space, available to the entire PMC for whatever need they may find themselves in. At present, this will require asking the infrastructure team, as we'd like to work with projects to ensure the best handling of sensitive information.


We continuously strive to better ourselves and provide state-of-the-art services and thinking, and it is our sincere hope that these upgrades will prove useful for the developers at the foundation.

If there are any questions on these changes, we ask that you reach out to us at users@infra.apache.org with your feedback/questions.


With warm regards and excitement,

Daniel, on behalf of the Infrastructure Team at the Apache Software Foundation.

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