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Open19 Foundation Promotes Open Standards for Data Centers

Yuval Bachar

A new organization launched this week to create standard open source data center technologies that can fit into any size facility.

The Open19 Foundation, which is led by LinkedIn and includes founding members Flex, GE Digital, HP Enterprise, and Vapor IO, wants to provide a lower cost per rack, lower cost per server, optimized power utilization and, eventually, an open standard everyone can participate in.

The concept for Open19 came out of a search for a more flexible and economical data center solution that would fit any location and facility footprint, offering all data centers access to technology that is only practical for very large facilities.

One of the initial hardware contributions will be an industry specification that defines a cross-industry common server form factor.

“Open19 is the rack standard we’ve needed for a decade,” Cole Crawford, CEO and founder of Vapor IO, said in a statement. “With Open19, we can snap together Tower Edge Compute data centers like Lego bricks. We can send a crew out to an edge environment, such as at the base of a cell tower, and stand up a new data center in minutes. Interchangeable parts mean customer and field ops teams have a common interface that works regardless of the components inside the chassis.”

Open19 vs. OCP

If you’re thinking Open19 sounds a lot like Facebook’s Open Compute Project (OCP), you wouldn’t be the first. OCP champions 21-inch server racks, while Open19 is pushing for a 19-inch rack design and has a simpler overall approach focused on reusing existing technologies for faster rack integrations.

It’s possible that OCP and Open19 will join forces at some point, according to Jeffrey Fidacaro, senior analyst of data center technologies at 451 Research. Nearly two-thirds of Open19 members are also members of OCP, he noted in a report last fall, when Open19 was in the works but hadn’t officially launched.

Fidacaro also pointed out that Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, is an OCP backer, which could further encourage a joint effort.

Yuval Bachar, principal engineer of global infrastructure architecture and strategy at LinkedIn, is serving as Open19’s president.

Open19 Partner Ecosystem

Open19 has at least 30 partners now, and the community is currently seeking new members, including individuals, companies and industry partners, to help move the initiative forward.

“The Open19 Platform represents a simple solution for a complex problem, so it’s no surprise that the response from the community has been so strong,” Bachar said in a statement. “With the formation of the foundation and the addition of our new partners, we can now begin capitalizing on this interest from the community and building on the vision for the Open19 open platform.”

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