Even more so than is the case with traditional servers, server blades will be designed for target applications. Some will be aimed at “general” use, typically as Web servers. These will often be of the edge server type, supporting many blades vertically mounted in a densely packed configuration.
RLX Technologies, for example, recently introduced its System 324 server blade unit that gives customers the option of running up to 336 blades in a single rack. Because of the temperatures in these tightly packed systems, there is considerable competition in the selection of processors (e.g., Transmeta Caruso and Intel Itanium) to minimize power consumption and heat.
Others blades may be application servers, usually SMP controlled with large memory resources and many storage options. Racemi offers an example of this kind of blade: The Racemi Race5 blades are server-grade single board computers that use 1 GHz Pentium III chips and support five individual, hot-swappable blades in a rack. The system runs software in a distributed fashion across the rack in a way that makes it easier for administrators to allocate resources to applications.
Still other blades will focus on network and communications functions and offer features like PCI compliance and NEBS support. No doubt vendors will come up with their own designations for use, and enterprises will have to sort through the descriptions and marketing hype to find a good match.