Weave Means More Infrastructure for Mozilla

Mozilla's new web services offering, Weave, could make it a major user of data center infrastructure.

The Mozilla Corporation has announced its entry into web-based services with Weave, which allows Firefox users to store their settings and bookmarks on Mozilla's servers. While the project's initial ambitions are modest, Mozilla Labs cites online storage as among the future services being explored for Weave:

Dan's hard drive has died. Like many folks, Dan had never gotten around to getting that backup solution he knew he needed. Dan feels miserable when he thinks of all the software he needs to install, the stuff he's lost, and all the account names and passwords he'll never remember. Then he realizes that his family photos, email and calendar are all hosted online, as well as all of the services he uses to manage his life: his banking, shopping, purchased music and more. With his replacement computer in hand, he installs Firefox, logs in to his Mozilla account and resumes his online life without skipping a beat.

Storing browser settings and bookmarks doesn't require massive infrastructure. But an online storage service like the one described in Mozilla's use cases is a different matter entirely.

If Mozilla were to offer a storage service to Firefox users that includes photos and purchased music, it would quickly become a major user of data center infrastructure. The Mozilla Corporation has the resources to expand its data center space, as it gets significant ad revenue from Google searches launched through the Firefox search function. In 2006 Mozilla had $66 million in revenues, a 26 percent gain over 2005, and it's a good bet that revenues for 2007 will be even stronger. About 85 percent of that revenue comes from Google.

Mozilla has already been using that revenue to beef up its back-end. "2006 saw a vast increase in capacity and infrastructure reliability for all essential Mozilla services including the launch of a European datacenter, cutting server response time by 50% or more for much for Europe," Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker wrote in an October blog post."The infrastructure work is an example of how revenue generated by Firefox is used to provide benefit to the entire Mozilla community. We now have a world-class infrastructure - machines that are tended and optimized constantly, prompt updates with security patches, on call response available when problems occur - which supports a range of Mozilla projects."

For additional information on Weave and its potential, see posts from Ars Technica, ComputerWorld, TechCrunch and GigaOm.