The lowdown on a blade server

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Economies of scale

What is it? A blade server is a new type of rack-optimized server that eliminates the complications of rackmount designs. Hot-swappable blades, which are complete servers in themselves, can be inserted into a blade rack chassis in seconds and can share basic components like power supplies, CD-ROM drives, KVM switches, and Ethernet and Fibre Channel links.

When do I need one? They are worth a look if you need to make the most of space, component savings and scaled performance. Blade servers can pack more than five times the servers per rack than 1U systems.

When don't I need one? When you don't need the scalability on demand that blade server technology provides.

Must-know info? This will be a shakeout year for blade server technology. By the end of this year, vendors will have expanded their product lines and blade servers will likely have gained a foothold among enterprise buyers. Keep in mind that blade servers are proprietary and each requires its own management software.

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