Sustainable data centres need the right connectors

The extent to which consumers, businesses and institutions rely on remote computing, apps and the Internet of Things has grown in leaps and bounds. Society is dependent on tasks that call on data centres to perform. In almost all sectors, these centres now form the backbone of everyday operations.

High availability of the IT infrastructure, minimum downtimes and sustainable operation are therefore essential. HARTING has joined forces with suppliers and operators in the Open Compute Project (OCP) to develop a connector for computer racks that will boost data centre efficiency – the Han ® ORV3.

Server architecture trims energy consumption

OCP is focusing on the redesign of hardware technologies for IT infrastructure. The aim of the consortium is to make data centres more efficient, more flexible and more rapidly scalable. The foundation for these activities is the open exchange of ideas, specifications and other intellectual property geared to achieving maximum innovation in connection with reducing the complexity of technical components. The OCP is making its recommendations for the design of server racks and power distributions available free of charge on the Internet. Since the outset of 2023, the third version of the Open Rack V3 (ORV3) recommendations has been implemented in applications worldwide.

Data centres consist of the following areas:

  • Power supply and distribution (incl. UPS)
  • Network connection
  • Cooling systems
  • Security architecture
  • Monitoring systems
  • Server racks/storage drives


Optimisation measures are initially directed at the areas with high energy consumption. Besides the cooling system, these consist mainly of the servers with upstream architecture: Together, they can be responsible for over half of a data centre´s energy consumption. A more compact power distribution may serve as an efficiency lever. ORV3 recommends specific, flat "power shelves": For reference, the sizes 1OU with 44 mm and 2OU with 87 mm height are stated [values rounded]. Connectivity adapts accordingly: The proposed AC connector housing for the mating side is just under 24 mm high. 

Smaller CO 2 footprint, less space required

Power shelves are used to rectify and distribute power in data centres and also house system management. Besides energy efficiency, the greatest possible flexibility is the most important requirement for good connectors. In the event of downtime, the design must make both installation and replacement of components as simple as possible so as to keep the total cost of ownership low.

ORV3 compliant AC connectors fit into the flatter 1OU rack, supporting miniaturisation. Seven contacts (480V/32 A) find space in the connector, which allow two three-phase transmissions. The data centres can increase their productivity in a given space. The HARTING solution thus supports the efficiency optimisation aimed at by the OCP in the construction and scaling of data centres.

Cable assemblies with the Han ® ORV3 Power Connector

Han® ORV3 connectors for rack systems strike a balance between standardisation requirements and the aim of gaining as much flexibility as possible in the configuration of cable assemblies. The OCP also provides recommendations for "AC Power Cord Assemblies" – and HARTING is offering compliant cable assemblies for this purpose that transmit power directly from the central power supply to the power shelf. The solutions are kept as simple as possible and consist of only a few part numbers. These key features support high centre availability, and - in case of rack unit failure - ensure low average repair times.


The use of standardised, reliable components that comply with OCP recommendations can significantly reduce data centre downtime and shorten repair times. In addition to adhering to standards, the use of high-quality materials increases the reliability of the power distribution for the computer racks. The Han® ORV3 generates efficiency gains, enables better space utilisation and reduces downtime. Thanks to the open-source approach, resources are conserved - and sustainability benefits accordingly.

Get in touch
Frank Quast
Head of PM Installation Technology, HARTING Electric