Advocating the Mission of Open19

July 28, 2017 – We are excited to be one of the first Open19 Foundation Members helping to lead and drive adoption of the Open19 platform.

Open19 represents a new way of building data centers. The Open19 platform establishes a rack standard that can fit any 19” rack environment for servers, storage and networking. The idea is to make modular, efficiently designed components for 19” rack environments. Those environments can be data centers, edge computing locations like cellular tower base stations, or standard IDF/MDF locations in office buildings. The goal is to provide solutions that can be integrated quickly.

The benefits of this are obvious. This will enable suppliers to produce servers that can be interchangeable in any rack environment. With an interchangeable rack standard, Open19 believes that businesses will incur lower cost per rack, lower cost per server and optimized power utilization.

The concept of Open19 was incubated and unveiled last year by LinkedIn. The non-profit Open19 Foundation itself launched in late May, with the goal of creating a community to support project-based open hardware and software solutions for data centers of all sizes. Other founding companies include Flex, GE Digital, HP Enterprise and Vapor IO. Groupware Technology was out in full force at May’s foundation launch event, with our VP of Engineering Ed Horley spearheading a lightning session.

According to the foundation’s launch press release, “The concept for Open19 came out of a search for a solution that would not only fit any location and facility footprint, but also optimize for any size data centers to a degree that was previously only practical for very large data centers. The solution was to develop a new model for building data centers using racks, cages and pre-defined network and power—enabling both traditional data centers and emerging business models like bare-metal cloud services.”

With more than 75 companies including Groupware Technology signing on as project partners upon its foundation launch, the Open19 project appears to be full steam ahead. Open19’s first project, a hardware platform, is projected to be available in the 4th quarter of this year. Based on standard building blocks with certain specifications, Open19’s concept of a next gen open server and rack technology is based on the idea of a “brick cage,” designed for quick and easy cabling for the “bricks” within.

The Open19 standard hardware platform is composed of four core pieces: a brick cage; bricks (CPU and storage units) to hold servers and storage, which can be half-width, full-width, double height and double width to allow for flexibility in design; a power distribution shelf, which takes low power, high power or DC/AC and converts it to low power distribution into the rack itself and finally an open switch. The bricks can be servers or storage and come in different sizes. The concept is that data center operators will populate each brick cage with a server or storage set that meets their needs, then hook it up to a full-width switch and power shelf. The choice of servers and storage is up to the data center operator but the framework is standard. With this platform, a rack can be integrated in a fraction of the time that it would normally take with conventional server, storage, networking and power.

The Open19 rack standard will be integrated into Groupware’s rack solution offerings under our Infrastructure Practice Director Vinay Prabhu. “We are thrilled about the promise of Open19 to make data centers more agile and scalable,” noted Prabhu. “We look forward to participating in the first project and advocating for the mission of the Open19 Foundation as it grows its community and picks up other adopters to build the next generation of data centers.”