A peak at the racks in Mozilla's data center in Santa Clara, Calif.
May 08 2012

Mozilla Moves to New $3 Million Wholesale Data Center

The Internet leader built its new data center with open collaboration and community assistance.

Given Mozilla’s open-source roots on the web, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the company’s community-focused philosophy found its way to its data center strategy.

“The ethos of Mozilla and how we started was all community based,” said Matthew Zeier, Mozilla’s director of IT operations, in a Wired story. “There’s very little that we do that’s behind closed doors. So I don’t think doing a data center and talking about it was a weird thing.”

One of the main pain points Zeier hoped to address by moving to a wholesale setup, as opposed to a retail setup, was power consumption. To decrease Mozilla’s data center power consumption, the organization turned to the Open Compute Project, which counts Internet heavyweights like Facebook as members. The Wired story elaborates:

Power is the single largest operational expense for data center operators, and companies such as Facebook, Netflix and RackSpace have banded together, forming the Open Compute Project, to share power-saving techniques and server designs, in hopes that they can cut down on the competitive advantage wielded by the Googles and Amazons of the word. The Open Compute Project will host its third public get-together on Wednesday, as members try to share information and design secrets so that organizations like Mozilla can save more on power.

While the new data center is by no means a rebel without a cause, Zeier is putting his unique touch on the data center.

The data center is conventional, but it has a few quirks. There are the SeaMicro servers. And the overhead beams are painted Firefox orange. And there’s a rack of Mac Mini computers, consumer systems that you almost never see in a data center. Mozilla runs about 500 of these $600 PCs worldwide as part of its browser test-bed.

Zeier likes the inexpensive Mac Minis because they have the processing strength and features typical of PCs. They’re not some pumped up server machines being tamed to do a PC’s job.

It’s important to run through a thorough checklist of do’s and don’ts before considering an IT move, but as Mozilla shows, a smart data center move can pay off in the end.

<a href="http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/mozillas-new-datacenter/" target="_blank">Ariel Zambelich/Wired</a>