[llvm-dev] GitHub Hooks

Renato Golin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Jul 19 14:59:05 PDT 2016

On 19 July 2016 at 22:35, Mehdi Amini <mehdi.amini at apple.com> wrote:
> Claiming that it "will be *a lot* less” burden that now is easy, but I don’t see any obvious fact to back this up.
> What is the current maintenance requirement of SVN/Git? Can someone who knows provides some fact?

I'll let Anton tell his side, and Tanya talk about the real costs, but
here are some facts I know:

Our ARM/AArch64 buildbots fail around 2~3 times a month with SVN
errors. Sometimes it's only the fast ones, sometimes all of them
(depends on how long it takes to fix). Sometimes the fix is just
"wait", sometimes Anton has to actively fix it. (he also has to work,
sleep, eat, etc).

In the past, we were hit by web spiders that ignored completely the
robots.txt file. Anton has made that better, but it can escalate if
the spider realise we blocked them. There are ways to work around, but
not without accidentally blocking innocent people (mostly in China).

The cost of the AWS servers is ~$5k / year. It's not *only* for SVN,
but also for web servers and hosting packages. Recently we turned off
the deb hosting because of budget (our server and bandwidth couldn't
cope with it).

So, while $5k/year might not look like much, it's enough to pay a lot
of students to go to the LLVM events, that couldn't otherwise go. It's
also nowhere near what we would like if we were to host a robust
repository with the features that GitHub can provide. Mainly
bandwidth, storage, stability and support.

Given the AWS costs that I've seen at Linaro, we'd have to *at least*
double that money to host a dedicated machine with enough bandwidth to
have repositories, binaries, videos etc. not counting paying someone
to actively maintain it, if we want to compare one to one with what
GitHub provides for free.

I will make no attempt at estimating Anton's time, or Tanya's or
anyone else's, but I believe they (and their companies/universities)
would very much rather they work on actual compiler stuff. I'm sure
that, if we join the human cost, it'll far outweigh the infrastructure
costs, even if we double/triple our current spending.

On the other hand, as Tim has shown, a web-service with a JSON file
will be running some web server which is light and cheaper than a
normal web-page to deliver (less content, less bandwidth, less
storage, less I/O), and could serve hundreds, if not thousands of
queries per second with a small AWS image.

The web-hooks would be setup once and hosted by GitHub, so zero
additional work from our side, as well as all the forking, branching,
merging, SVN interface (which we can't easily get if we move to local

The level of failure in the web-services will be lower (lower load,
less probability of barfing) and even if it does, it will only affect
the services that use it (buildbots, LNT, bisect), not any other

Moreover, our side of the web-service can fail catastrophically and
need a wipe and restart, and *none* of our commit history would be
affected. On the other hand, if the SVN fails catastrophically today,
I don't know if we have a good backup policy that will mean commits
could be lost. GitHub may not provide guarantees, but they do have
proper backup policies.

All in all, may not look much, but running a decent and stable web
service with so much at stake is *not* a simple task, and we shouldn't
take it for granted.


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