Blade Servers

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Blade servers are self-contained computers that have many components removed. These components are shared to a enclosure or chassis that contains multiple blade servers. Unlike the traditional rack/stack server, in a blade server each blade has the same component that home/office computer would have such as CPU, RAM, and is able to act as a computer. Blade technology was developed in a joint effort between IBM and Intel. IBM has been at the forefront of Blade server technology and has popularized the servers through a series of commercials. Other companies such as HP, Sun Microsystems, Dell, and Hitachi have all begun developing blade servers.

IBM HS20 blade server.
IBM HS20 blade server.

A need for blade servers came out of the necessity of companies to use more efficient and faster servers without having take up a lot of space.
  • Provide a method to quickly ramp computing capacity up as needs change
  • Reduce power and cooling costs
  • Are much smaller than rackmount servers
  • Maximize compute density and availability
  • Reduce costs by easing management complexities, and eliminating the need for miles and miles of cables
  • Blade servers also reduce the costs of system failures. Since the servers are much less expensive, if one goes down, you can simply remove it from the enclosure and replace it with a spare. All this can be done without powering down your systems.


  • Servers Blades - high density computing engines with 1 to 4 processors and memory
  • Blade Chassis - enclosures with integrated power and racks for housing server blades, communication blades and connections to external peripherals and inter-chassis links
  • Communication Blades - integrated blades with Ethernet, InfiniBand and proprietary communication adapters and switches
  • Power and Cooling Systems - centralized power distribution components that power the blade chassis and components
  • Storage Subsystems - hard disk and tape storage subsystems can be inside the blade chassis or external to the chassis. Blade servers can be disk-less since they can boot from external storage in a Storage Area Network or SAN. This configuration can increase reliability and reduce space requirements by partitioning storage resources in one centralized location and computing resources in another. This also eliminates storage redundancies and simplifies storage management.
  • Software Management Tools - management software that enables server administrators to deploy, control and monitor server resources.
  • Virtualization Software - software that enables maximum usages of server resources by creating virtual server resources that tap physical resources as needed by the application usage

IBM BladeCenter vs. HP C-Class Power Comparison

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