MusicBrainz Server/Setup

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< MusicBrainz Server
Revision as of 19:55, 1 August 2013 by JonnyJD (talk | contribs) (→‎MusicBrainz Server virtual machine: tell about current VirtualBox workaround)
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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 via BitTorrent: MusicBrainz VM 2013-08-01
Size: 10.13GB Open Virtualization Archive (OVA), the virtual drive can extend up to 40 GB)
Version: 2013-08-01 (beta version)
MD5: 717726cbea28a4fce51ae6ae803b8a6a

  1. Download and install Virtual Box on your machine.
  2. Currently (20130801 beta VM) the .ova file doesn't work directly with VirtualBox so you have to do some additional steps:
    1. tar -xf "MusicBrainz 2013-08-01.ova" && VBoxManage clonehd MusicBrainz_2013-08-01-disk1.vmdk MusicBrainz130801.vdi --format VDI
      (this will create a 27 GB file that can grow later on up to 40 GB)
    2. Create a new VirtualBox VM with Type "Linux" and "Version Ubuntu (64 bit)". You should give at least 1 GB RAM.
    3. Add the previously generated MusicBrainz130801.vdi as hard disk
    4. (If you try to use or import the vmdk file before running VBoxManage it might fail. Just untar the ova again.)
  3. Start Virtual Box and choose Import Appliance from the File menu. Select the downloaded file.
  4. Once Virtual Box has imported the appliance, select the imported virtual machine from the list of virtual machines and click on Start.
  5. Once the instance has started up, log in on the console using the username vm and password musicbrainz. This account has sudo privileges -- if you would like to set a root password, you can do that via sudo.
  6. 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.
  7. Optional: The console for Virtual Box is very slow. It may be faster to SSH into the virtual box with a good terminal program.
  8. The MusicBrainz server starts automatically. Now you can reach the MusicBrainz server by pointing your browser to port 5000 of the IP address in step 5.
    • 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.

Tuning your VM

We recommend that you give your VM 2GB of ram, if that is possible. The more RAM you give to the VM, the faster it is going to run. To change the memory settings, you will need to shut down the VM, change the settings and then re-start the VM. The Postgres database will be automatically tuned based on the available RAM when the VM starts up.

Running Replication

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

bin/replicate now

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. Drop pre-filled database using command

dropdb musicbrainz_db

and check the file for how to import new data.

Automating Replication

To turn on background replication, run:

bin/replicate start

to turn it off:

bin/replicate stop

We recommend leaving replication off for the time being, until you've built search indexes for the VM.

Building search indexes

The VM comes with support to build search indexes. In order to build the indexes, log in to the account and then:


Depending on your machine, this may take quite a long time. We recommend that you leave this running overnight. After the indexes are complete, you should be able to carry out indexed searches in your VM.

Accessing the database

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

sudo su - musicbrainz
cd musicbrainz-server/admin

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 --recursive 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.