Community Update with Zac Smith, Open19 Foundation Chairperson & Managing Director, Equinix Metal 

Can you give us a 30,000 foot overview of how the project is going? What do you see as the biggest successes 5 years in?

This is an exciting time for the project!  The community is super engaged and I’ve never seen our industry – from suppliers, to operators to customers – more focused on innovation than what I see today.  With the extreme challenges around sustainability and a move to net zero IT, everybody is looking at ways to improve efficiency, reduce waste and introduce needed new power and cooling technologies across the value chain.  Open19’s community, IP model and focus on sustainable “in rack” datacenter innovation that can work anywhere in the world in a standard 19” form factor, is resonating.  Given my involvement in the project over the last several years, I feel we’ve shown how impactful and elegantly simple a brick-based datacenter and rack standard can be.  And now, with our “version 2” work, I think we’ll help introduce the next generation of power and cooling standards that we need to support the performance and sustainability demands our world is facing.

2. What are one or two big trends or topics that are surfacing most with the Open19 community that you’ve heard either in the meetings or your conversations with members?

I’d say that the two things people love about Open19 are the open, inclusive community and the impact our standardized form factor can have in introducing sustainability technologies to a very fragmented and complex ecosystem like IT and datacenters. 

3. Can you share an update on the member roll? Who are you most excited to see get on board and what’s the strategic approach for bringing more people into the community?

Along with the move to Linux Foundation, we established several membership levels to enable easy access to our various sizes of customers and industry participants.  With the work around the V2 specification and the broader reach of the Linux Foundation, we’ve welcomed new members each month.  With V2 coming into prototype stage and the industry work we’re doing around Liquid Cooling and 48V power, I’m especially excited to welcome more datacenter operators and end user deployers in the coming quarters.

4. How is V2 coming? We know it’s iterative but tell us where we are in terms of the innovation around pluggable liquid cooling and 48V native power solutions.

I’m so very excited about “V2”.  This has been a labor of love for the working committee members – thousands of hours spent on debate, designs, technologies, and demos.  As of last week, we reached the “Release Candidate” stage of our specification for V2, which includes updated data connector specifications, a new power shelf that is 48V native ‘to the brick’ and a pluggable liquid cooling connector that we expect will massively accelerate adoption of this powerful technology.  The teams are now moving into prototyping and we hope to have early working samples of much of the specifically in the coming 2 quarters.

5.  In addition to the V2 platform spec, what is on the horizon and what are some goals you want to see achieved with the community and project over the next couple of years?

With V2 coming together, we can turn more of our attention to some of the lifecycle ideas the community has had – including standardized reusable packaging and other improvements in logistics.  I also aim to spend more of my time supporting our supply chain, helping to increase awareness of Open19’s sustainability benefits, and making it way easier for Enterprises and Service Providers to start leveraging Open19 technology in their datacenters.