Mozilla runs weird gear at its data centre

Mozilla is playing with all sorts of weird gear at its data centre.

Apparently it is running two SeaMicro SM10000 servers which do not get an airing anywhere else. The server is a fat box about the size of an air conditioner which is stuffed with 64 Xeon processors.

Wired reports Mozilla has the new low powered SM10000′s in its Santa Clara data centre, which went online in February.

The big idea is to move lighter web-serving loads to low-power systems, and to free up the bigger hard drive capacity, memory, and CPU power on the organisation’s blade server so that they can run databases.

Matthew Zeier, Mozilla’s director of IT operations has flipped the normal use of servers on its head by sticking web traffic onto the SeaMicro which would normally be called a database server. 

Zeier wanted to consolidate his three Bay Area operations into one. It was costing so much in power he thought it might be time to move from retail to a wholesale data centre.

He asked around to find out how he could do it and got some of his open source friends to lend a hand and come up with some novel ideas.

The data centre uses about a half-megawatt of power, but by the year’s end, as Mozilla adds more and more servers, its power consumption will double, he says.

But Zeier admits his data centre is pretty weird. For a start there are the SeaMicro servers and then there is a rack of 500 Mac Mini computers, consumer systems that you almost never see in a data centre. These are used as part of Mozilla’s browser test-bed.