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Differences between Tower, Blade and Rack Servers
April 13, 2011
Traditionally, stand alone tower servers are a good economical solution for many IT environments which includes small offices, remote locations or offices with plenty of floor space. As offices expand and the number of servers expand with it the energy used and cooling required becomes more important as well as space issues which all become major concerns when considering growth.
Rack and blade servers are perfect for helping to increase IT capacity in an already crowded data centre. Although these servers share many similarities there are also several essential differences that may make one type of server a better solution for your IT environment than another.
These description help to define each of the servers for you:
These consist of upright, stand-alone units that contain all traditional server components: hard disks, motherboards and central processing units (CPUs), networking, cabling, power and so on. Tower servers normally require more space than blade or rack-mounted servers, and scalability in such designs is restricted to the available floor and wall space.
These consist of small form factor servers designed for high-density footprints. Many components—power, cooling and ventilation, networking and other interconnects have been removed from the servers themselves and are shared among servers within an enclosure. A blade enclosure can be much more economical and scale better than typical tower units.
Are complete servers specifically designed for ultra-compact vertical arrangements within a rack skeleton or cabinet. This configuration uses floor space efficiently, offers centralised cable and server management and increases infrastructure scalability.
Tower servers, bladed servers and rack servers all offer hot-swappable components that you can replace without disruption to other units or their services in a load-balancing arrangement. However, rack servers are generally designed to work as a logical and cohesive whole but without the tight integration found with server blades; this helps to make rack servers more flexible in some situations. In addition, you can run servers from different manufacturers in the same rack enclosure because the servers don't share proprietary components.