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Clojars.org Sysadmin Guide

This describes the production deployment on clojars.org. It's aimed at the clojars.org maintainers. You might find it interesting if you're trying to run your own repository though.

Architecture

diagram

There's a user "clojars" which runs all the clojars webapp bits. The repository lives in /home/clojars/repo.

We always run two instances of the webapp: clojars and clojars-backup. They're started by Upstart as defined in:

/etc/init/clojars.conf         http://clojars.org:8001/
/etc/init/clojars-backup.conf  http://clojars.org:8002/

The nginx configuration will try to direct all requests to clojars and only if it's down use clojars-backup. There's a basic TCP load balancer "balance" which does the same thing for the nailgun port for the scp access.

The reason for running two instances is:

  1. It allows us to have outage-free deploys (sessions aren't persisted at the moment so logged in users will get kicked out though).

  2. When deploying, clojars-backup is deployed first so that you can do a last minute sanity test on http://clojars.org:8002/ that the release built correctly and is working in the production environment.

  3. Failover in case anything goes wrong with the primary instance. I'm in the habit of this from badly-behaved Java applications with massive GC pauses, deadlocks etc but Clojars tends to be pretty stable.

Releasing

As the server's MOTD says, the release process is:

sudo -iu clojars deploy-clojars $GIT_TAG

That's just a simple shell script ~clojars/bin/deploy-clojars which:

  1. Checks out the given tag into a fresh directory.'
  2. Runs the tests and ensures they pass.
  3. Creates a release jar with lein uberjar
  4. Copies the uberjar into ~clojars/releases
  5. Updates the symlink ~clojars/releases/clojars-web-current.jar
  6. Restarts clojars-backup

It will then ask you to do any last minute testing and then you can run "sudo restart clojars" yourself to update the primary webapp instance.

Rollback

  1. Point clojars-web-current.jar symlink back to the previous version:

    sudo -u clojars ln -sf clojars-web-0.8.1-standalone.jar ~clojars/releases/clojars-web-current.jar

  2. Restart the backup instance.

    sudo restart clojars-backup

  3. Wait until clojars-backup has started up to avoid outages.

  4. Restart the primary instance (if you need to):

    sudo restart clojars

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