Blade Servers or Rack Servers – What’s the Difference


There has been a lot of development in computer technology over the years. There has also been a noticeable increase in the use of blade servers by various new businesses and it has been deemed as one of the most competent computer devices. Even though both offer similar kind of computing power, there are some key differences between both the devices.

Server room at CERN

What are rack-mounted servers?

These are basically computers which comprise all the necessary components for different kinds of operations. A rack mounted server can be plugged into a conventional electrical outlet. The device is ready for operation as the network cables are connected. The configuration of the rack mounted server enables it to be placed in the rack of computer hardware, which is typically 19 inches wide, the standard size, effectively the height, for rack servers is 1U for one unit.

What are blade servers?

Blade mounted servers are optimised for saving space and need to be placed within a blade field (enclosed space) that has networking components and power supplies.

In other words, a blade server has a modular design which is optimized so as to reduce the utilization of energy and physical space. They still carry all the different functional components that are required to make them computers.

Blade servers vs. rack servers

Even though both systems have their own advantages, greater flexibility is offered by rack mounted servers. The blade enclosed space typically has one cooling unit and power supply along with various other components which are shared by different blade units. On the other hand, as far as rack mounted servers are concerned; each functions with its independent cooling system and power supply along with all the other components. This allows users to configure every rack server component to the particular requirements of an operation.

The modular nature of blade servers makes it easy to replace and upgrade components, but the blade stacks do need proper cooling and should be handled with care.