The lowdown on a blade server

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What is it? A blade server is a proprietary rackmount chassis in which many ultrathin server blades share centralized resources such as management modules, Gigabit Ethernet network switches, hot-swap power supplies and fans.

Why should I buy one? Blade servers have been shown to drive down the costs associated with owning servers, while providing dramatic improvements in hardware density, simplified management, faster deployment, improved uptime and flexible provisioning.

Must-know info? Blade servers represent the newest evolution in server-based computing. After a slow start several years ago, the technology took off last year. More than 20 vendors now compete for market share, up from about nine a year ago. As some gray areas concerning standards and management software clear up, blades will likely become even more popular.

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