Tools Lab Operations Engineer (Contractor)

San Francisco
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Created: January 12, 2013


Background Information

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property.

Statement of Purpose

The Technical Operations team of the Wikimedia Foundation is embarking on a new project to build a flexible and scalable lab infrastructure for our community and volunteers, to support their effort to prototype, develop, test and deploy their tools and extensions. Some of the uses of the Wikimedia Labs infrastructure are for:

  • Deployment of volunteer-created tools which are independent of MediaWiki, e.g. edit counters, mentoring database, geographic information about articles etc. (essentially the kind of things currently running on the Toolserver)
  • Prototyping and staging of WMF-developed MediaWiki code
  • Prototyping and staging of volunteer or chapter-developed MediaWiki code
  • Development and deployment of new site architecture by staff and volunteers in a code-reviewed, devops-oriented environment
  • Access for researchers (WMF or external) to live database replication or large datasets, as well as computing resources, for the purpose of running analyses
  • Serving as an execution and hosting space for bots, so that bots can be more systematically developed and tracked
Two full-time Wikimedia Foundation operations engineers are currently building Wikimedia Labs.

Scope of Work

Wikimedia is looking for a contractor whose primary focus will be to assist the community developers to migrate their tools to this new Labs infrastructure, especially those residing in Toolserver today. In addition, this person will:
  • Support enhancement and perform operational duties of the Labs Virtualization Project using OpenStack and LAMP-stack technology. Duties include developing, deploying and supporting tools to provision and manage large networks of virtual machines, creating a redundant and scalable cloud computing platform
  • Set up monitoring systems
  • Provide system and database administration duties for the Labs environment

Outcome and Performance Standards

You are expected to work about 40 hours a week, on average. During these (flexible) hours you are required to be available online for collaboration with the (international) Foundation team. Outside these hours, you may incidentally be contacted for emergencies (e.g. during system outages). You will report to the Director of Operations, and will work closely with Operations staff, the Engineering Community Team, and the Toolserver community. Besides maintaining regular communication with your point of contact, you may need to participate in bi-weekly online Operations meetings with the rest of the team. There will be milestone check-ins with the Foundation to discuss progress and activities. You must be willing to travel occasionally for international meetings, as well as to perform your duties.

Term of Contract

Your initial contract will be for a duration of 6 months, and will commence as soon as possible. Renegotiation at the termination of the contract is optional.

Payments, Incentives, and Penalties

Rate will be determined by level of experience and expertise.

Contractual Terms and Conditions and Required Qualifications

Respondent parties are expected to:

  • Have 5+ years of hands-on and strong knowledge of LAMP-stack system administration
  • Be competent in programming and scripting languages like PHP, Python and bash
  • Be able to work independently where needed, and work remotely as part of a globally distributed team
  • Be comfortable in a highly collaborative, consensus-oriented environment
  • Be a proficient speaker in the English language

  • Prior work experience in creating provisioning tools is a plus
  • Prior work experience integrating different types of services together, e.g., LDAP, Puppet and MediaWiki is a plus
  • Experience with virtualization technologies such as OpenStack or Ganeti is a plus
  • Experience with clustered filesystems such as GlusterFS or Swift is a plus
  • Experience with high-traffic web site operations is a plus
  • Experience with MySQL database administration is a plus
  • Experience with the Solaris UNIX operating system and Sun Grid Engine is a plus
  • Understanding of the free culture movement, especially Wikimedia, is a plus
The ideal candidate will be creative, highly motivated, and able to operate effectively in multiple cultural contexts.

Candidates do not have to live in the San Francisco Bay Area or the USA; remote candidates are welcome.


Published: Saturday, January 12, 2013 00:47 UTC

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:46 UTC