Moving to San Francisco

Two years ago I came to San Francisco on my 25th birthday, I fell in love. This is a magical city full of amazing people, delicious food, and the best coffee on earth.

Three months ago I joined the team at CircleCI working remotely out of New Jersey. Out of those three months I have spent six weeks here in SF and I find that although working remotely is really convenient it makes it a bit harder to collaborate and get things done.

So today, I am excited to say that I will officially be living in San Francisco as of Sunday and working at the CircleCI office on Market Street full time. I signed a lease today and I am going to be living in an awesome apartment near the Civic Center in SOMA. I am so excited to be a part of the city and the community.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to live in the city that I love so much. If you are ever in town, let me know and I would love to share some of the amazing coffee with you.


Backing up Discourse with RDS

We are launching a community site with Discourse at CircleCI and I ran into some issues with performing backups.

Since we want to be #webscale, rather than installing Discourse using the easy Docker method, we opted to split up the services on AWS.

We are using EC2, RDS, ElasticCache, ELB and S3 for backups. When I initially launched PostgreSQL on RDS I just picked the latest version (9.4 at time of writing) and didn’t put much thought into it. The problem is that the version of pg_dump inside the Docker container provided by Discourse is 9.3.  Apparently you are not able to do a pg_dump when your client and server are mismatched.

When you try to do this, you get a sad error that states:

aborting because of server version mismatch

In order to fix this, we need to upgrade the client version on the Docker container (or alternatively avoid this all together by using the same version of PostgreSQL on RDS). Since it is easier to update the client than downgrade RDS, I opted to upgrade the client.

To do this:

  1. Log into the EC2 Instance that is running Discourse
  2. Go to the Discourse install location (mine is in /var/docker)
  3. Enter the container with:
    sudo ./launcher enter app
  4. Upgrade the version of PostgreSQL client
    apt-get install postgresql-9.4
  5. Swap out the pg_dump symbolic link for the newer version
        ln -s /usr/lib/postgresql/9.4/bin/pg_dump /usr/bin/pg_dump
  6. Perform your  backup

When you update the Docker container for the next release you will likely have to repeat these steps until Discourse gets to the same version of PostgreSQL as the one you chose on RDS.