Open  Website Screenshot

At the DatacenterDynamics Webscale conference this week, Yuval Bachar shared LinkedIn’s first major project since their acquisition by Microsoft. The Principal Engineer at LinkedIn mentioned “an initiative that we hope will further the state of hardware in the data center.”

Dubbed Open 19, the goal is to provide a lowered cost and optimized power utilization. LinkedIn plans to build a standard that will work in any EIA 19-inch rack, allowing manufacturers to create servers that will be more interchangeable.


Bachar believes that by focusing on these elements, the designs will more efficient to install, more modular, and contain components that can be sourced easily.

He quotes the following specifications for the platform:

“Standard 19-inch 4 post rack;

Brick cage;

Brick (B), Double Brick (DB), Double High Brick (DHB);

Power shelf—12-volt distribution, OTS power modules;

Optional Battery Backup Unit (BBU);

Optional Networking switch (ToR);

Snap-on power cables/PCB—200-250 watts per brick;

Snap-on data cables—up to 100G per brick;

Provides linear growth on power and bandwidth based on brick size.”

Future Plans

LinkedIn will adopt the new model as soon as possible and hope that other companies will take it up after seeing its cost savings. The company believes the solution will be applicable for all different sizes of data centers.

Using the new design, it hopes to:

“Create an open standard that can fit any 19-inch rack environment for server, storage, and networking;

Enable rack deployment cost optimization; Reduce commons (cables, PDUs, etc.) by 50 percent;

Enable faster rack integration;

Achieve 2-3x faster integration time;

Build an ecosystem that will consolidate requirements and volumes.”

LinkedIn is investigating ways to allow anybody to adopt and contribute to the project. The long-term goal is for it to be approved by partners at every level, from component suppliers to data center operators.

The benefits of the project are clear – more efficient power distribution, reductions in integration time, and cable reduction. To join the project or find out more about it, you can visit the Open 19 website.