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What are viable Open19 use cases and hardware options?

Open19 is working with vendors to make hardware for its open source infrastructure. The goal is to support a growing number of off-premises use cases, such as edge computing.

The Open19 industry specification is not intended for one specific use case or type of data center equipment. Its primary emphasis is on speed and simplicity for hardware installation, but there are situations where Open19-based equipment might be particularly attractive.

Open19 defines physical cage specs and four primary brick form factors, but it does not outline what admins install in those form factors. These cages can retrofit to existing 19-inch racks and eliminate the use of complex rails, discrete power and network cabling. Once the power and network devices are initially cabled to the cage openings, admins can add or exchange new bricks within a cage with almost plug-and-play ease.

One example is highly scalable data centers with significant hardware growth, maintenance and repair demands, such as multi-tenant hosted data center facilities, cloud-scale data centers, and large companies with major computing requirements, such as pharmaceutical or scientific research.

Another Open19 use case is distributed, remote or edge computing situations. The actual hardware volume at one location may be relatively small, but the need to quickly act and scale processing capabilities is important for a business. Open19 hardware allows for faster installations, and requires minimal cables or adapters for troubleshooting.

There is a modest selection of cages, brick servers, power shelves and network switches designed for these use cases. Admins can find a list of all Open 19 vendors in a common marketplace.

Given the limited product offerings that support Open19, the chance that any IT department would include Open19 form factors in a technology refresh is small. Instead, Open19 gear is likelier to appear in remote edge locations in limited deployments.

Several vendors supply Open19 brick servers, such as the Flex BC5152 Skylake Server Brick and the Inspur OB5161M5 storage node. Compatible network switches include the Celestica Bolt 1U Networking switch. Power shelves are now available from vendors, and they include APC's open compute power supply unit and the Delta 16kW power shelf. Celestica and Amphenol provide Open19-compliant cages, as well as integrated power and network cabling, respectively.

The catalog for Open19 servers is currently small, but the Open19 Foundation states that major server vendors such as Dell, HPE and Super Micro Computer are actively working on Open19 server designs. Still, the availability and specifications of these forthcoming server and storage offerings are uncertain.

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