A number of hardware manufacturers have been marketing blade servers for Cloud computing with gusto. There is a definite buzz about how blade servers can help Cloud computing. Gartner has considered a variety of blade servers and come out with a report that positions HP as the market leader in that quadrant. So, how does a blade server help clients transitioning their computing resources to the Cloud?

Blade servers were introduced into the market by two small companies—RLX technologies and FiberCycle Networks during the dotcom boom. With the collapse of the market, a number of mainstream vendors stepped into the breach and introduced blade servers for the data centre consolidation. The blade servers came to be used for front end web tier applications that require quick throughput with a lot of processing power and for back end applications to take advantage of stateless storage concepts. Later, blade server clusters were conceived, implemented, and users also considered blade servers from the perspective of granular resource utilization. Modern day blade servers assist in virtualization.

But, what is a blade server? How does it help in Cloud computing?  Here are some answers:

HP defines the blade server as “a modular platform that fits together with other blades (not necessarily servers), into custom-designed chassis to create a fully functioning system. Multiple chassis may then combine within a rack to create a larger system, and multiple racks may be combined to create a large system that could consume a whole aisle or container. In all cases, blades become individual building block. The chassis provides power and cooling provisioning to all blades plus various common management functions.”

Obviously, the advantage of the blade server is that it consumes less power, rack space, simplifies cabling and improves user experience in myriad ways. Data center consolidation is almost automatic when the “skinless servers” (servers that do not have outer covering and are just circuit boards) are transferred to the blade chassis and are managed from a single interface.  Blade servers enable server clustering, load balancing and failover, file sharing, web page serving, and caching, SSL encrypting of web communication, transcoding of web pages and streaming of audio and video content.

Blade servers, according to HP,

  1. Lay the foundation for building converged infrastructures
  2. Help with achieving resiliency and automation
  3. Simplifies the delivery of proven solutions from client to Cloud, and
  4. Maximizes hour, watt and dollar in systems