Open19 Foundation Member Spotlight – Molex

Molex, an electronic interconnect solutions provider that supplies connector and cable products, currently has three products featured on the Open19 Marketplace that support the Open19 Project; including the Impel data cable assembly, which offers a plug-and-play solution that allows customers to connect 48 servers to one Open19 switch. We recently spoke to Molex New Product Development Manager Liz Hardin and Director of Data Center Sales Ryan Wade about Molex’s adoption of Open19 and their perspective on the industry impact of the Open19 technology.   

Q: What prompted Molex  to join the Open19 Foundation?

A: Molex decided to join the Open19 Foundation because it is at the forefront of answering a different set of questions around implementation of racks within a data center. Rather than approach this traditionally, the founders of Open19 were courageous enough to think about rack connectivity in a new way – and that’s an exciting change that Molex wanted to be a part of!

Q: What are some of Molex’s goals as an Open19 Foundation member?

A: Molex’s main goal as an Open19 Foundation member is to help enable users who are looking to implement Open19 solutions. There are limitless ways that the technology can be applied into an end solution and we are excited to work with ecosystem partners to facilitate those goals.

Q: How is Molex deploying Open19 technology? What product solutions are currently available?

A: We have many options available and in stock with CDW and Arrow. Most notably, the 12u and 8u data cable, but there are a variety of test cables that we have in stock as well – check out the Open19 Marketplace for details. Currently in the final stages of deployment is a version of the 12u data cable that supports Open19 servers connecting to a standard switch with QSFP connections.

The Molex Impel data cable assembly.

Q: How do you believe the Open19 Foundation is changing the data center/edge ecosystems?

A: The Open19 Foundation’s focus on ease of implementation is resonating with the goals of the data center and edge ecosystems. The technology answers a lot of questions around how we might be able to move closer to a more automated environment that is quicker to scale through the blind mate power and data cables that sit in the rear of the rack.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the data center industry, and what impact do you anticipate the Open19 Foundation will have?

A: While there are any number of challenges facing the industry, some of the questions that we are working to answer surround the challenges of increasing data rates and easing implementation. Implementation is a key focus of Open19; providing a “touch free” connectivity scheme for data and power within the rack. Since the rack is installed with that connectivity enabled, whether a UPS driver is adding a new server into a rack somewhere at the edge or a robot is sliding a new server into an Open19 rack in a data center, the challenge is made easier to address with the Open19 approach. 

Another question, supporting increasing data rates, is addressed in a few ways with the Open19 solution. First, by moving to a mid-rack switch solution, the lengths of the connections are shortened providing cleaner performance at current data rates. Second, the utilization of Molex’s Impel data cable solution helps improve electrical performance compared to traditional attach methods.

Q: How do you see the industry evolving over the next 5-10 years?

A: Over the next 5-10 years we think ecosystem partnerships will evolve as people work together to leverage the strengths that individual companies have to successfully tackle the challenges facing us. We also believe that we will see true evolution and implementation of edge solutions and greater degrees of automation.