Rack ’em Up
The now-familiar process of rack-mounting servers was the first and most common approach to assembling large numbers of servers. Server blades are a conceptual evolution of rack-mounting, although technically they are an outgrowth of switching technology where “blades” have been used for quite some time. Using a variety of uncommon designs, for example vertical mounting and ultra-thin profiles (usually without disk storage), server blades can take advantage of low-power, low-heat operation to cram more than 300 blades into a single rack.
Each server blade is an inclusive computer system, with processor, memory, network connections, and associated electronics on a single motherboard. Most server blades do not include onboard storage (other than RAM), and they share storage units along with power supply, cooling, and cabling within a rack.
Although experiences will vary, it’s expected that the repackaging of server farms into blade racks can save an organization between $500,000 and $1 million per rack — no small incentive for an enterprise investigating investing in this emerging technology.