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Open19 Foundation Forms to Simplify Data Center Management

Mike Vizard

LinkedIn for the past year has been making a case for a proposed Open19 standard for servers and racks that promised to make it simpler to manage and upgrade IT infrastructure. Now, LinkedIn, in collaboration with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), Vapor IO, Flex and GE Digital, has announced the formation of the Open 19 Foundation.

Open19 defines a form factor, power distribution, and network connectivity for servers, storage and other elements intended to be deployed in a 19-in. rack that can fit within a 2RU size or smaller. Yuval Bachar, president of the Open19 Foundation and principal engineer for global infrastructure architecture and strategy at LinkedIn, says moving the Open19 specification under the auspices of an Open19 Foundation will provide a mechanism through which organizations can make contributions to extend the Open19 specification further.

Bachar says the driving goal behind the development of Open19 has been the need to inject more agility into the management of IT infrastructure.

“We’ve seen four to five times faster deployment cycles,” says Bachar.

Next up, Bachar says, IT organizations should expect to soon see data center switches that comply with the Open19 specifications.

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Vapor IO CEO Cole Crawford says Open19 is significant because it extends the whole notion of managing infrastructure-as-code to the rack itself.

“It defines the cage,” says Crawford.

Whether Open19 has enough industry support to transform the way data centers are managed is to be determined. But the fact that an Open19 Foundation exists suggests that when it comes to simplifying how data centers are managed, there’s much work still to be done.


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