What are Blade Servers?
A blade server is a data center server module designed to fit a blade enclosure or chassis which performs ancillary functions. These include power supply and management, cooling, and some networking. The blades are designed to increase a data center’s overall power and cooling efficiency, and take up less physical space than alternatives.
Blade servers are scalable, and often hot-swappable. Blade systems include servers and chassis and are designed to support a wide variety of business objectives. These may include virtualization, web hosting, file storage and sharing, and other needs.
Blade Server Benefits & Capabilities
Blade server modules and blade server systems provide the following advantages:
Lean form factor & high space saving
Less need for cables
Less need for switches and network interface cards or adapters
Lower cost of power, cooling
Module hot swapping
Highly scalable architecture
Specialized modules (compute, storage, network)
Diskless or virtualization modules
Configurable via software management interface
Buy all needed components from a single vendor
White box servers may be available (low cost)
Blade server modules and chassis are available on perpetual licenses. However, support is likely available on subscription (e.g. 3-year, or 5-year). Blade systems including modules and chassis may all be purchasable from a single vendor. Purchases are scalable with acquisition of additional blades. These modules may specialize in compute, storage, or networking as needed. White box servers may also be available, as a lower cost option. However, blade servers do come with a great risk of vendor lock-in. Modules are often designed to function with chassis from the same vendor. Switching vendors can be an expensive proposition requiring data center overhaul.
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