Molex announces OCP compliant KickStart Connector System

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Molex has expanded its array of solutions recommended by the Open Compute Project (OCP) with the introduction of the KickStart Connector System.

An all-in-one system, KickStart is the first OCP-compliant solution that combines low-speed and high-speed signals, as well as power circuits, into a single cable assembly. This system eliminates the need for multiple components, optimises space and accelerates upgrades by offering server and device manufacturers a flexible, standardised and 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,” explained Bill Wilson, new product development manager for Datacom & 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 Small Form Factor (SFF) TA-1036 cable assembly that complies with OCP’s Data Center 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.

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

Moreover, KickStart is aligned with the form factor and robust mechanical structure of Molex’s 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 also allows for simple, hybrid cable assembly pinout from KickStart connectors to Sliver 1C for Enterprise and Data Center Standard Form Factor (EDSFF) hard-drive docking.

Support for hybrid cables further simplifies integration with servers, storage and other peripheral devices while easing hardware upgrades and modularisation strategies. 

KickStart reduces the need for multiple interconnect solutions while expediting product development.  Designed to support both current and evolving signal speeds and power requirements, Molex’s data-centre product development team collaborated with the company’s power engineering group to optimise power-contact design, thermal simulation and power dissipation.

Samples of the KickStart Connector System are available for evaluation.