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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Open19: LinkedIn’s data center standard aims to do what OCP hasn’t done

    Yevgeniy Sverdlik
    May 23, 2017

    While fomenting a full-blown revolt against the largest American hardware vendors’ once-outsize influence on the hyper-scale data center market, by many accounts Facebook’s Open Compute Project has yet to make a meaningful impact in smaller facilities that house the majority of the world’s IT infrastructure.

    OCP hardware has been difficult to source for companies that buy in much smaller volumes than do its two biggest users – Facebook and Microsoft – and if you don’t want to redesign your data center to support the standard OCP requirements, your already slim vendor choice for OCP gear that fits into standard 19-inch data center racks is narrowed further.

    That’s the problem Open19, a new data center standard developed by LinkedIn, aims to solve. It promises a way to build out data centers that’s both compatible with traditional data center infrastructure and simple and quick enough to meet the servers-by-the-ton pace of hyper-scale data center operators.

    It will be a lot easier for companies to adopt Open19 “because they don’t need to change the basic infrastructure,” Yuval Bachar, LinkedIn’s principal engineer for global infrastructure architecture and strategy, said in an interview with Data Center Knowledge.

    Today, LinkedIn is launching a non-profit foundation in an effort to grow an ecosystem around its data center standard. And it’s recruited some heavyweight founding members – GE Digital, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and the multinational electronics manufacturing giant Flex (formerly Flextronics) – in addition to the data center infrastructure startup Vapor IO.

    The Open19 Foundation’s charter is to “create project-based open hardware and software solutions for the data center industry.” Similar to the way the Open Compute Foundation (which oversees OCP) works, Open19 will accept intellectual property contributions from members, LinkedIn’s hardware spec being the first one.

    Microsoft Keeps an Open Mind

    It’s unclear how complete Open19 is at the moment, or to what extent hardware built to the standard has been deployed at LinkedIn data centers. Bachar said the hardware has not yet reached production level.

    The cloud data center hardware team at Microsoft, which acquired Linked last year, started standardizing on OCP across its entire global footprint in 2014, when the company joined the project. Its latest-generation cloud server design, still in the works, makes adjustments to ensure easier installation in colocation data centers around the world, including a 19-inch rack and a universal power distribution unit that supports multiple international power specs.

    Whether Microsoft will eventually integrate LinkedIn’s data center infrastructure with its own, and whether it will decide that it would be advantageous to run the social network on the same type of hardware that runs the rest of its services is unknown at this point.

    Kushagra Vaid, who oversees cloud hardware infrastructure at Microsoft, told us in March that the company was far from making a decision about LinkedIn’s data centers. “We haven’t really started talking about it,” he said. “We’re going on two clouds for now.”

    He added that there were elements of LinkedIn’s standard that he liked: “There are some good things in Open19.”

    Bachar said he could not comment on what Microsoft’s plans would be, saying his team was continuing to be focused on building an infrastructure that would improve performance for LinkedIn members. “For LinkedIn, this is the future of how we build our … data centers.”

    Bricks and Cages

    There are other key differences between OCP and Open19, beyond the form factor. Unlike OCP, LinkedIn’s standard doesn’t specify motherboard design, types of processors, network cards, and so on. It also doesn’t require that suppliers that want to sell Open19 gear open source their intellectual property.

    “When we built OCP, we built it a s a community-led standards organization, where companies and individuals could donate intellectual property and have that intellectual property be innovated again,” Cole Crawford, Vapor IO founder and CEO and former executive director of the Open Compute Foundation, said in an interview with Data Center Knowledge.

    “Open19 is a standard in and of itself,” specifying a common chassis and network backplane but not the electronics inside, he went on. “Whatever exists inside of that chassis … that can be differentiated by OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), by an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer), with no [IP contribution] requirements at all.”

    Open19 describes a cage that can be installed in a standard rack and filled with standard “brick” servers of various width and height (half-width, full-width, single-rack unit height, double height). It also includes two power shelf options, and a single network switch for every two cages.

    A data center technician can quickly screw the cage into a rack and slide brick servers in, without the need to connect power and network cables for every node.

    Standardizing All the Way to the Edge

    Another way Open19 stands out is by standardizing both core data centers and edge deployments, an increasingly important and growing part of the market. As digital services have to process more and more data to return near-real-time results, companies put computing infrastructure closer to where the data gets generated or where the end users are, places like factory floors, distribution warehouses, retail stores, wireless towers, and telco central offices.

    Edge is a key play for Vapor IO, whose Vapor Chamber and remote data center management software are designed for such deployments.

    Edge data centers are also key to GE Digital’s major play, its industrial internet platform Predix, which collects sensor data from things like jet engines or locomotives and analyzes it to predict failure for example. It is a cloud platform for developers building these industrial internet applications, and as such requires a highly distributed, global infrastructure. Different data center standards across suppliers and geographies have made the process of building this platform difficult, Darren Haas, VP of cloud engineering at GE Digital, said in a statement.

    “Predix extends our capabilities across all form factors — from the edge all the way through to the cloud,” he said. “We built Predix so developers can create software that moves between the various form factors, environments and regions, but we still wrestle with different standards and systems by node, region and vendor.”

    See also: Why OCP Servers are Hard to Get for Enterprise IT Shops

    Read more: Meet Microsoft, the New Face of Open Source Data Center Hardware

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Open19: A New Vision for the Data Center

    Bricking it: Open19's chassis design

    The Open19 Foundation aims to “optimize for any size data centers to a degree that was previously only practical for very large data centers.”

    Simon Sharwood
    24 May 2017

    LinkedIn wants you to brick it in the data centre by following it and its friends with a new standard for data centre hardware that pushes its ambitions to the edge and into competition with the Facebook-derived Open Compute Project.

    Microsoft's data-harvesting firm first floated the idea of defining data centre hardware last year, naming it Open19 and stating the ambition to “establish a new open standard for servers based on a common form factor.”

    If that sounds an awfully lot like the aims of Open Compute, you're not alone in thinking so.

    Which may be why on Wednesday LinkedIn changed its tune slightly, announcing that Open19 is now about “a new generation of open data centers and edge solutions” (Reg emphasis). There's also a new Open19 Foundation that aims to “optimize for any size data centers to a degree that was previously only practical for very large data centers.”

    Open 19 will produce designs for large data centers with over 100,000 servers, “large data centers with open slots only, and small edge platforms.”

    To The Register's mind, the important difference between Open19 and Open Compute is the intention to define a single set of kit that will run anywhere. That's important because it's increasingly assumed that public clouds will often be too expensive or too slow to handle data gathered by sensors.

    Putting computing muscle closer to where data is made - “the edge” is therefore attracting plenty of interest. If you need edge computing, it may be that you would prefer that it uses the same kit and designs as the stuff you use in your main bit barns. Open19 looks to have set out its stall on hardware homogeneity no matter where you run. Indeed, it is promising common components for infrastructure.

    Participants include GE Digital, HPE and edge data centre upstart Vapor IO, and they've developed the idea of a “brick cage” a chassis somewhat akin to a blade chassis, offered in 12U or 8U configurations and designed for quick and easy cabling for the “bricks” that will reside within. Those bricks can be servers or storage and come in different sizes. The idea appears to be that you'll populate each brick cage with kit that meets your needs, then hook it up to a full-width switch or “power shelf”.

    Open19 says the bricks will come together as “standard building blocks” with the following specs:

    • Standard 19” 4-post rack
    • Brick cage
    • Brick (B), Double Wide Brick (DWB), Double High Brick (DHB), Double High & Wide Brick (DHWB)
    • Power shelf: 12v distribution, OTS power modules with any AC or DC inputs
    • Optional Battery Backup Unit (BBU)
    • Networking switch (ToR)
    • Snap-on power cables – up to 400w per brick, linear growth with size
    • Snap-on data cables – up to 100G per brick, linear growth with size

    Importantly, it appears that Open19 isn't mandating particular servers: if a machine fits into one of the four brick specs, it should get along fine. White box server-makers SuperMicro, Inspur, Wiwynn and QCT have signed up, as have the likes of Broadcom, Mellanox and Schneider Electric. So the whole data centre gang is here and ready to play.

    All Open19 needs now is users. Which is of course the hard part.

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Why Hewlett Packard Enterprise and LinkedIn Are Joining Forces

    The establishment of the new foundation comes as data center equipment makers face big headwinds because of the rise of cloud computing. With companies like Amazon and Microsoft selling computing resources on-demand, many businesses have stopped buying as much data center gear as they use to.

    Jonathan Vanian
    May 23, 2017

    If there’s one thing that big companies can agree on, it's that data centers should be easier to manage.

    That’s why companies like LinkedIn, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and General Electric's division focused on digital technology have established a new foundation that is intended to make it easier for businesses to buy data center hardware.

    The new group, the Open19 Foundation, wants to encourage companies to build data center hardware more uniformly so that it fits in standardized data center racks. Businesses use the racks to house their computing gear, like servers and routers, and the 19-inch rack is the most commonly used, said LinkedIn principal engineer and Open19 Foundation president Yuval Bachar.

    Success depends on getting data center gear makers to agree on certain specifications. Currently, there are few standards, Bachar explained.


    One selling point for Open19 Foundation, Bachar said, is that participants are not required to submit their server designs to the organization so that others can see them. Instead, sharing information would be voluntary.

    Although big tech vendors like HPE, Dell, and Cisco are OCP members, they rarely contribute their data center hardware designs because they don't want to expose their trade secrets to competitors, Bachar explained.

    “They want to maintain their competitive advantage,” Bachar said. Presumably, the new Open19 Foundation would focus on getting members to agree on certain broad standards without them learning how each other specifically builds their equipment.

    Although some data center hardware companies like HPE may be wary of working with rivals to create a data center standard, they stand to benefit if it leads to more people buying hardware in general, explained Cole Crawford, an Open 19 Foundation co-founder and CEO of data center startup Vapor IO. Crawford was also a former OCP executive.

    While the foundation may eventually lead to companies buying both HPE servers and servers from competing brands, that's better for HPE than no one buying any servers altogether.

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