Since a couple of days, the Open19 project moved a step ahead by announcing the creation of a non profit foundation aiming to create a new Open Hardware project willing to fix and address upcoming datacenter issues by focusing on the 19 inches form factor.
The datacenter industry is probably one of the slowest moving industry in IT and in some ways remind us what is going on in the car industry between a fast mover like Tesla, and a dying giant like Ford. Our traditional vendors are claiming the complexity of change versus the potential benefit couldn’t justify any changes which explain the slow adoption of 21 inches rack. The OCP project is struggling with these issues for many years, and Open19 if expecting to change this.
What is really strange is that most of the founding members are coming from OCP, and have failed to make raise there ideas into there original community due to potential IP protection threat, which is not true, preferring to fork, and focus on a 30 years old form factor.
Open19 openness is currently even smaller than OCP without strong directions on how the open spirit of the project will be driven like within OSHWA supporting the idea to develop open source tools to design Open Hardware. Nothing is currently published, and it is impossible to participate without paying an upfront cost of at least 10 000 $US.
Open19 might be a successful industry standard which might correspond to some customer request, but it is currently in no way an Open Project, that is why we decided not to join it, and keep fighting to help OCP communities moving in the right direction, with more Open projects, deeper collaborations, stronger free design tools which are the basement of a strong open hardware project. Everything is not perfect, but great technical achievements have demonstrated that innovation is more important than standard. RuggedPOD an OCP licensed project (not yet approved project) is reaching a PUE of 1, OpenRack demonstrated energy savings of up to 20% compared to traditional 19 inches form factor.
Is it better to live in the past, or reduce the carbon footprint of our industry ? We made our choice and are proud to be members of real Open Hardware projects including Open Compute, Open Power, Risc-V, OSHWA, and strong contributors and happy users of FreeCAD and KiCAD. The only limit is imagination, and collaboration not standard and we shouldn’t mix both.
We are also strongly believing that the only way to improve global system security is to do it, by enhancing the support of free and Open Firmware like Coreboot and OpenBMC projects, which are not even mentionned in the Open19 project.