MusicBrainz Server/Setup

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< MusicBrainz Server
Revision as of 18:46, 17 January 2013 by RobertKaye (talk | contribs) (MusicBrainz Server virtual machine)

MusicBrainz Server virtual machine

Running an NGS virtual machine requires some Linux knowledge, but it is vastly simpler than installing NGS from scratch. The pre-built virtual image can be imported into either VirtualBox or VMware. If you are using Amazon EC2 you can not use this virtual image and will instead have to follow the steps outlined in the source code To use the virtual machine instance, follow these steps:

MusicBrainz Server Virtual Machine
Download: MusicBrainz NGS 2012-10-15.ova
Size: 5.7GB Open Virtualization Archive (OVA)
Version: 2012-10-15 (fixed version)
MD5: 5e0754beb03d0474364473506b2f0c83

  1. Download and install Virtual Box on your machine.
  2. Start Virtual Box and choose Import Appliance from the File menu. Select the downloaded file.
  3. Once Virtual Box has imported the appliance, select the imported virtual machine from the list of virtual machines and click on Start.
  4. Once the instance has started up, log in on the console using the username musicbrainz and password musicbrainz. This account has sudo privileges -- if you would like to set a root password, you can do that via sudo.
  5. Get the IP address of your virtual machine. Note this down from "inet addr" with this command:
    ifconfig | grep eth0 -A 1
    NOTE: if eth0 is not configured correctly, perhaps you've encountered this problem.
  6. Optional: The console for Virtual Box is very slow. It may be faster to SSH into the virtual box with a good terminal program.
  7. To start the NGS server, enter
    Now you can reach the MusicBrainz server by pointing your browser to port 5000 of the IP address in step 6.
    • e.g If your IP address from step 6 was:, then point your browser to
    • If the server looks like it started correctly and you cannot connect in your browser, try pinging it from your host operating system command line
      ping <inet addr>
      If you cannot ping it, you may have a VirtualBox network configuration problem. Try the instructions here to switch your VM to using a bridged connection rather than NAT. Restart the virtual machine and find the new IP address in step 6 again. Start the MusicBrainz server again.


If you see an error like:

 musicbrainz@musicbrainzvm:~$ ./
 open >/tmp/.mb-LoadReplicationChanges: Permission denied at ./LoadReplicationChanges line 88.

Then it's possible the permissions on the /tmp directory are incorrect. To fix:

 sudo chmod 777 /tmp
 sudo chmod o+t /tmp

This will reset the permissions to their correct values on the /tmp folder.

If you update the code base in an early version of the virtual server, you may encounter an error that complains about DEVELOPMENT_SERVER not being defined, please add this line to your lib/ file:


And then start the server.

Running Replication

This VM comes "replication ready". To enable replication, and have the database catch up with the latest replication packets, do this:


This will load all of the changes to the database since the VM update.

NOTE: Loading replication changes might take a long time. If the VM is more than a couple of weeks old, it might be better for you to import a fresh data set. Check the file for how to import new data.

Automating Replication

To automate this, add this script to a cron job that fires off 10 minutes after each hour. e.g.

  1. Execute (and select your editor of choice)
    crontab -e
  2. Add entry like
    10 * * * * /home/musicbrainz/ >> /tmp/replication.log 2>&1

Accessing the database

To access the main postgres database, you can do this:

cd ~/musicbrainz-server/admin

to access the RAWDATA database (that also contains edits), use RAWDATA, instead of READWRITE. If you would like to access the DB from outside the virtual box, take a look at how to change postgres connection settings.

Turning the VM into development box

If you would like to use the VM to do development instead of using it as a simple database slave, you'll need to edit lib/ and set REPLICATION_TYPE to RT_STANDALONE and run admin/psql READWRITE and execute the following queries:

DELETE FROM annotation WHERE editor > (SELECT max(id) FROM editor);
DELETE FROM release_annotation WHERE NOT EXISTS (SELECT 1 FROM annotation WHERE = release_annotation.annotation);

then from the command line execute:

admin/psql READWRITE < admin/sql/CreateFKConstraints.sql
admin/psql READWRITE < admin/sql/CreateFunctions.sql

TODO: The server will probably run out of disk space during this process. We need to add instructions on how to move the DB to a new partition.

Setup MusicBrainz Server from source code

This can potentially be a very laborious and time consuming method of getting a functioning MusicBrainz server. Using the virtual machine is recommended.

Get a copy of musicbrainz-server from git:

git clone git:// musicbrainz-server
cd musicbrainz-server

And follow the instructions in the INSTALL file.


The setup process may look daunting, but please don't let this discourage you; the INSTALL is thorough and contains a lot of information, and we are willing to provide assistance. If you have questions about installing, join us in the #musicbrainz-devel IRC channel or post a question on the developers mailing list and we will attempt to help you out.

We recommend that you dive in and give it a try - who knows how far you'll get and what you might learn along the way!


In order to set up a running MusicBrainz server with the full database you will need:

  • A linux box, preferably Ubuntu.
  • 8GB of free disk space, (if you are a developer and only want the server code and database structure 2GB is more than enough).
  • Git knowledge which will enable you to check out the source code.

As a developer the following knowledge/skills are beneficial:

  • Apache, Perl, mod_perl, PostgreSQL and a number of perl modules.
  • How to compile and install packages from source on a Linux box.
  • How to patch existing packages, although we can help you out if you have questions about that.

Note: The server has never been ported to Windows, and we suspect that it would be a fair amount of work to make that happen.