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What's the difference between Open19 and the Open Compute Project?

Though the Open19 initiative and Open Compute Project seem to have a similar goal, they do differ in type of support, hardware requirements and licensing practices.

The central theme is similar between both organizations: Create means to quickly and conveniently deploy and manage a huge volume of IT gear. But the Open Compute Project's specifications delve into the internal design of server components, while Open19 does not.

In 2011, Facebook launched OCP to lead the open source hardware charge and promote its web-scale hardware designs. In 2019, OCP categorizes its hardware under two initiatives.

The OCP Server Project offers specifications for web- or cloud-scale computing for server validation, manufacturing, deployment, operations and decommissioning. The project includes rack and blade chassis and sleds and covers microservers, such as Advanced RISC Machines and x86 processors.

The Rack & Power Project encompasses specifications, standards and products that support conventional 19-inch racks and 21-inch rack designs, rack-level power distribution systems and physical shelves, as well as supports and chassis for OCP hardware implementation.

These aren't the only initiatives from OCP -- there are 16 total projects within the organization. Other projects cover more granular components, such as electrical and mechanical interfaces, testing and debugging, peripheral and mezzanine adapters, and network adapters.

On the surface, this might seem almost identical to the work done by Open19.

Established by LinkedIn, Open19 focuses entirely on a deployment's physical characteristics, which includes standardized power distribution and high-performance network connectivity to a variety of basic brick form factors. But the Open19 standard does not include what actually goes into those bricks, and participants can choose those components themselves.

Additionally, Open19 does not obligate participants to share designs and innovations through an open source license. This enables vendors that use the Open19 specification to create and competitively benefit from their intellectual property. Major vendors, such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Vapor IO and Flex, simultaneously participate in Open19 and OCP.

This was last published in April 2019

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