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Submissions/History and Purpose of Wikimedia Public Cloud Services

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Submission no. 3029 Subject - T1
Title of the submission
History and Purpose of Wikimedia Public Cloud Services
Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)

Panel presentation

Author of the submission

Madhumitha Viswanathan

Language of presentation


E-mail address


MViswanathan (WMF)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

"Have you heard of Wikimedia Cloud Services?"

"Cloud what?"

"It’s a new team, they were called Labs before"

"Oh the tool labs thing?"

If you’ve been in these conversations, and are confused by all the terms floating around like Cloud, Labs, Tools, VPS, Beta cluster, etc., this session is for you. In this panel presentation, along with my team members (Chase Pettet and Bryan Davis) of the newly formed Wikimedia Cloud Services team, we will attempt to demystify these terms and tell the story of Labs, the rebranding, and where our renewed focus lies.

We’ll start at the beginning with the launch of Wikimedia Labs in 2011 as an experimental Infrastructure as a Service initiative. We'll talk about how it grew from a testing ground for projects on the way to production to a critical piece of infrastructure that powers important volunteer and staff efforts - Tools, the beta cluster, staging environments for services like ORES, and production services for WikiEd, Video2Commons, etc. We then move on to Tools, our Platform as a Service offering, that attempts to reduce the technical complexity in the path of hosting your bots and services on the Cloud; and explore it’s impact today in hosting over 1500 tools that do everything from automatically correcting template formatting errors to spam and vandalism detection.

You will then hear about the whys and hows of forming a new team around these services, and the need for rebranding - both the team, and the products we offer. We’ll also talk about our plans to provide better user support - in terms of technical documentation, fostering community run groups to develop policies around ownership and best practices, building better channels for collaboration and mentoring, and much more. 

What will attendees take away from this session?
  • Clarity on what is Cloud, labs, tools, and other related words
  • Impact of Labs and tools in the Wikimedia ecosystem 
  • The need to rename, and what the new products are called
  • What the team will focus/is focusing on now apart from what it was doing already, what is new
  • Actionable ways for the audience to get involved
Theme of presentation
Technology, Interface, and Infrastructure
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?


Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
55 minutes (panel)
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Probably yes
Slides or further information (optional)
Introduction to Wikimedia Cloud Services (56 minutes)
Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. I guess this session would be of interested for many people who can't make it there, so please document it to the fullest. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 03:03, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Slashme (talk) 20:33, 13 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Greg (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 13 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Freddy2001 (talk) 10:43, 14 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Lluis tgn (talk) 12:35, 15 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  6. ...