A blade server is a compact, self-contained server that consists of core processing components that fit into an enclosure with other blade servers. Blade servers are considerably smaller and mount into a blade enclosure or "rack,” to conserve space in the data centre.
Why Use Blade Servers?
Blade Servers Are Designed for Simplicity
First, blade servers have a smaller footprint than that of full-sized servers. Full-sized servers often have all of the “bells and whistles” that a stand-alone server may require. However, in many cases, when multiple servers host one application or database, these extras, such as DVD drives or multiple USB ports, are not necessary and may even pose security risks. These unnecessary components are rarely utilised and take up valuable space.
Blade servers are considerably smaller and mount into a blade enclosure, or “rack,” to conserve space in the data centre. Blade servers are servers that are stripped of all unnecessary components and manufactured to be modular. This modular design allows several servers to be mounted in a rack and stored in a relatively small space. In addition to storing several servers in one location, racks also provide the servers with cooling, power, networking components and management components. However, space efficiency is just one reason why blade servers are a smart choice for environmentally-conscious IT managers.
Blade servers consume up to 20 percent less energy than do full-sized servers. In data centres that house hundreds or even thousands of servers, blade servers amount to a considerable savings on energy, as well as the power costs to run the data centre. As a major goal of any IT department is to reduce operational costs, replacing full sized servers with blade servers is one way to cut energy costs of running an enterprise data centre. The environmentally-conscious IT manager will also be much more content knowing that he or she is reducing the impact on the environment by reducing the use of resources.
Blade servers manufactured today offer the performance of full sized servers while maintaining energy efficiency. By stripping blade servers of all unnecessary components, less space is required to store the modular units and less energy is required to power the units.
Virtualization for Energy Efficiency
Many companies are implementing virtualization to centralise control of each users’ desktop and to reduce computing costs. A virtualized network is one where the users’ desktop machines are actually virtualized images that are served from a server. End users may access the virtual machines using a thin client or a “stripped down” workstation. When the end user boots up their thin client or workstation, the operating system of the image stored on the server loads.
Virtualization enables greater control over the end user experience. The IT department is able to effectively monitor use and control unapproved installations to corporate computers. Moreover, virtual machines allow the IT department to centrally manage the images. In past years, IT personnel were required to physically install software, updates, hot fixes, etc. to each user’s computer. With a virtualized network, the IT staff simply applies the changes to the images stored on a centralised server. Virtualization also allows for remote administration. The IT personnel responsible for the end user network do not necessarily need to be on the premises to provide user support.
Because of the nature of virtualization, blade servers are often the choice for larger enterprises that maintain virtual networks. End user desktop images are stored on the servers and served to the end user when they log onto the network. Virtualization also offers an energy efficient alternative to maintaining full workstation computers for each end user. Thin clients and stripped down workstations without CD or DVD drives conserve energy and provide energy savings for the company.
Blade servers are the energy efficient and space saving choice for many IT managers. For companies that have virtualized their end user network, serving the virtual images to end user client machines from blade servers is a smart choice. Save space, conserve energy costs and save money on utility expenses to run the data centre using blade servers and a virtualized network.