Blade Server vs Rack Server

What is a Rack Server?

A rack server, or rack-mounted server, is any server that is built specifically to be mounted within a server rack. Rack servers are a general-purpose machine that can be configured to support a wide range of requirements. They are most commonly found in data center environments but can also be used in smaller computer closets. Unlike traditional servers that look much like a PC, a rack server is wider. So it can be secured into the rack using mounting screws or rails, depending on the design. If you only require a small number of servers, they are the best choice economically due to the lower upfront costs.

The height, or the amount of rack units the system might take up, can vary quite a bit. Depending on what is required from the system. Larger servers allow for additional CPUs, memory, or other components. The servers themselves are mounted one on top of the other within a rack. To help minimize the amount of space used.

What is a Blade Server?

A blade server is a modular server that allows multiple servers to be housed in a smaller area. These servers are physically thin and typically only have CPUs, memory, integrated network controllers, and sometimes storage drives built in. Any video cards or other components that are needed will be facilitated by the server chassis. Which is where the blades slide into. Blade servers are often seen in large data centers. Due to their ability to fit so many servers into one single rack and their ability to provide a high processing power.

In most cases, one large chassis such as HPE’s BladeSystem will be mounted into a server rack and then multiple blade servers slide into the chassis. The chassis can then provide the power, manage networking, and more. This allows each blade server to operate more efficiently and requires fewer internal components.

Blade servers are generally used when there is a high computing requirement with some type of Enterprise Storage System: Network Attached Storage (NAS) or a Storage Area Network (SAN). They maximize available space by providing the highest processor per RU availability. Blade Servers also provide rapid serviceability by allowing components to be swapped out without taking the machine offline. You will be able to scale to a much higher processor density using the Blade architecture. The facility will need to support a much higher thermal and electrical load per square foot.

Benefits of a Blade Server

Power Consumption – In many cases the chassis for the Blade Server will supply the power to multiple servers, reducing total consumption.

Hot Swappable – Blade servers can be configured to be hot swappable so if one blade has a problem, it can be pulled and replaced much more easily. This helps to facilitate redundancy.

Less Need for Cables – Rather than having to run individual cables for each server, blade servers can have one cable (often fiber) run to the chassis, thus reducing the total cable requirements.

Processing Power – Blade Servers can provide an extremely high processing power while taking up minimal space

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