Connector system is first OCP-compliant and all-in-one boot-drive connectivity solution

25-10-2023 | Molex | Industrial

Molex has expanded its array of solutions recommended by the OCP by introducing the KickStart Connector System. An innovative, all-in-one system, it is the first OCP-compliant solution that integrates low-speed and high-speed signals and power circuits into a single cable assembly. This complete system eradicates the necessity for multiple components, optimises space, and accelerates upgrades by supplying server and device manufacturers with a flexible, standardised, easy-to-implement approach for boot-drive peripheral connections.

"The KickStart Connector System reinforces our goal to remove complexity and drive increased standardisation in modern data centres," said Bill Wilson, new product development manager for Datacom and Specialty Solutions, Molex. "The availability of this OCP-compliant solution reduces risk for customers, alleviates their burden of validating separate solutions and provides a faster, simpler path to critical data centre server upgrades."

The integrated signal and power system is a standardised SFF TA-1036 cable assembly that complies with OCP's Data Centre Modular Hardware System (DC-MHS) specification. Developed in collaboration with members of OCP, KickStart is recommended in OCP's M-PIC specification for cable-optimised, boot-peripheral connectors.

As the only OCP-recommended internal I/O connectivity solution for boot-drive applications, it empowers customers to manage evolving storage-signal speeds. The system accommodates PCIe Gen 5 signal speeds, with data transfer rates up to 32Gbps NRZ. Planned support for PCIe Gen 6 will fulfil demands for ever-increasing bandwidth requirements.

Moreover, KickStart is aligned with the form factor and robust mechanical structure of the company's award-winning, OCP-recommended NearStack PCIe Connector System, which offers the lowest mated profile height of 11.10mm for improved space optimisation, increased airflow management and reduced interference with other components. The new connector system allows for simple, hybrid cable assembly pinout from KickStart connectors to Sliver 1C for Enterprise and Data Center Standard Form Factor hard-drive docking. Support for hybrid cables further simplifies integration with servers, storage and other peripheral devices while easing hardware upgrades and modularisation strategies.

Ideal for OCP servers, data centres, white box servers and storage systems, KickStart reduces the need for multiple interconnect solutions while expediting product development. Designed to support current and evolving signal speeds and power requirements, the company's data-centre product development team collaborated with the company's power engineering group to optimise power-contact design, thermal simulation and power dissipation. As with all its interconnectivity solutions, KickStart is backed by world-class engineering, volume manufacturing and global supply chain capabilities.

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By Seb Springall