Blade Server vs Rack Server vs Tower Server

The difference between a Blade Server vs Rack vs Tower Server, is important to understand if you are looking for a server for personal use of for business. Our comparison will give you a basic explanation and give you a good understanding of the difference between the different types of servers, and which one will be better for your own usage.


What is the difference between a blade server vs rack server vs tower server?

To begin we will need to make sure that the regular consumer is able to differentiate between a blade server, a rack server, and a tower server.

A tower sever is a little bit easier to explain, it is all in the name. To explain slightly further, a tower server is a unit that is designed to be positioned on or underneath a desk. It offers a basic level of performance and costs roughly the same as a desktop computer.

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A rack server, on the other hand, is a server that is built specifically to be mounted in a server rack. It is slightly wider and is commonly fitted into a rack using mounting screws or rails.

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Thirdly, we have the blade server. These can be described as modular servers that are mounted in a blade enclosure, which can also be mounted in a rack. These blade enclosures allow for multiple blade servers to be house in a smaller surface area.

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The Benefits

Alright so now that we have gotten the differences between the various machines out of the way, let us discuss what the benefits for each of these machines are. For each, I will list the three benefits that I believe sets these machines apart from one another and pretty much gives you an idea of their general capabilities.


The Benefits of a Rack Server:

Self Sufficient – This machine comes with the all the required hardware to perform everything a server is required to. In other words, Memory, Raid Controller Data Drives, A Power Supply Unit and a Cooling Unit are a standard part of the package.

The standout features however are the two I am going to list below.

Cooling – So the Rack Server, as I mentioned earlier, comes with a built-in cooling fan, which makes the cooling process a much easier task when compared to the other machines.

Economical – Simply stated, these types of servers can be considered as the more cost-effective option for small to medium-sized functions.


The Benefits of a Tower Server:

Compact – The tower can essentially be used in work areas that are not specifically designed to accommodate “traditional” servers. Servers are usually setup in a designated “data centre” a room built specifically to house servers. The tower server removes that “headache” and crosses a server with a desktop computer to give you a machine that versatile and one where you will not need any special bays in which to have it setup to use.

Its Simplicity – The size of the machine and simple desktop like design, makes it easier to consider as an ideal start for individuals looking to begin using a server in a much smaller company. Furthermore, you are basically required to choose the backup hard disks and the computing power by adjusting the frequency together with the number of processors you want and then you are all set. The Dell website has also mentioned that In practical terms, 4 hard drives and a processor should suffice for an organisation with 25 workstations, although a tower server can accommodate up to 6 drives and two processors.


The benefits of a Blade Server:

Less Space Required – Seeing as a Blade Server only consists of the essentials, in terms of hardware components, it only stands to reason that it would require a relatively small amount of space to setup, even with the high processing output it is capable of producing. These machines work well in high scalability environments and you will likely not find yourself sacrificing a significant amount of physical space.

Hot Swappable – This specific feature is why this type of server provides some of the most headache free and quick serviceability. The redundancy that comes with Blade Servers means that if you happen to experience a problem with one of the blades, you could simply pull out and replace the problematic blade without taking the entire machine offline.

Less Cable Usage – Simply stated. The fact that a Blade Server is commonly mounted in a blade enclosure means that it does not require individual cabling for each server. The enclosure essentially acts as a docking station for the blades in this instance.


Can I Use A Blade Server at Home?

The simple answer is yes, you can use a Blade Server at home, however, there are a few variables and trade-offs to consider. You will need a chassis for the Blade Server to run properly because the server by itself is not much. Unlike a Tower Server that has everything housed in one unit, with a Blade Server you will be required to make sure that you purchase a compatible chassis together with your blade. Over and above that you will need to have isolated power sockets setup for the machine.

You will likely also require a pair of earplugs to go along with this kind of setup, I mention this to note that the chassis fans will be running louder than “normal” and depending on the make and model, blade chassis have been known to be by far the loudest noise in any data centre. It will sound like a mini jet taking off.

Because a Blade Server was designed to be inserted into a larger chassis, which may subsequently have add-on cards, you should consider that this type of setup for typical home use would add significantly to your cost and doing anything else which requires graphics (even simple video processing) would be rather difficult and not worth the money spent.

As mentioned previously, servers of this type typically do not have any graphics output. They are generally meant to be accessed remotely via a remote interface of sorts when required, however, many of the most recent machines have been known to come standard with a VGA plus USB port available. One more thing to note is that Blade Servers are designed to be a sort of stripped-down machines that serves a simplified purpose such as heavy processing requirements, it can also be used as a file server, but very little else.

In conclusion, I would say that for home use, you are much better off building a regular desktop machine or a Tower Server. Today’s new computers are going to be far more powerful than a similarly priced used server unless you find a spectacular deal off for refurbished setup. Even with a new build, you will get more for your money off the consumer market instead.


Which one should I choose between Blade Server, Rack Server and Tower Server?

Explain which one is best for which purposes.


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