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Server form factors: A guide to rackmount, blade servers and more

Here are some tips to help you understand rackmount and blade server roles, and the microserver form factor, and decide which is right for your tasks.


Budget constraints, reliability concerns and changing technologies present a myriad of options for new servers. Weigh the pros and cons of rackmount servers versus blade and microservers.

This guide to understanding server form factors can help cut through the hype and let IT professionals find the system that fits their needs and budget.

1Rackmount servers here to stay-

Rackmount servers: Traditional and larger form factors

While blade servers are gaining popularity, traditional rackmount servers remain the basic building blocks for today's data center. IT professionals turn to these servers to handle a variety of workloads.


How to buy a server

Server purchases are a compromise between your required power and features, and the budget you can spend. Here's how to figure out how much server your money will buy, and tricks to drop the price. Continue Reading


Server features and functionality: An introduction

1U servers are powerful, economical and versatile. While they aren't always suitable for compute-hungry database applications, they are great for everyday business operations. Manufacturers and models vary significantly, and there are countless options. Continue Reading


Virtualized data centers turn to 2U, 4U servers

Looking for more computing power to improve virtualization performance? Turn to 2U and 4U servers for increased memory support and expansion capabilities. But IT pros looking to purchase one of these larger form factors should consider whether it would really be able to meet their needs. Continue Reading


Blade servers vs. rack servers for virtualization

Deciding whether to use blade servers or rackmount servers for virtualization can be complicated. But in the debate over whether the benefits of blade servers outweigh the disadvantages, cost rules all. Continue Reading


Purchasing terms to live by

When purchasing hardware, follow these basic principles to ensure you're choosing a product that is compatible with your software. Continue Reading

2The benefit of blades-

Blade servers: Big on computing power, small in size

Blade servers add computing power for demanding workloads without the bulk and cost of larger server form factors. Blade servers offer distinct advantages for some applications, including Web hosting and virtualization. But the very properties that make blades attractive to IT pros also generate their own set of challenges.


An introduction to blade servers

Understanding the features and capabilities of blade servers is the first step in determining whether to integrate them into a data center. This overview will help IT professionals decide if blade servers will benefit their business. Continue Reading


The advantages of blade enclosures for virtual server load balancing

Limitations that once made blades a bad choice for virtualization aren't necessarily a problem for today's blade server models. Explore how blade servers have changed over the years, and why they might be the best choice for a virtual environment. Continue Reading


Rise in virtualization slows blade server technology adoption in the data center

The rise of virtualization, along with hardware and network factors, has slowed blade server adoption. IT pros that deploy blade servers without conducting a detailed cost-benefit analysis will end up disappointed -- and over budget. Continue Reading


How to cool blade servers

Blade servers pack more computing power into a smaller area, but that also means one of the biggest challenges is keeping them cool. How much air movement do you need to properly cool a blade server? Continue Reading


What's great about blade servers?

The compact size, computing resource consolidation and low costs of blade server technology benefit businesses, but it might not be right for your data center. Find out the pros and cons of implementing blade servers and figure out where customers can put blades to good use. Continue Reading


Watch out blades -- Virtualization cuts through

Virtual storage appliances may cut the blade server market down to size. Local storage and virtualized storage management mean it's time to reconsider the old rackmount vs. blade server argument. Continue Reading


Five answers to blade server questions

Don't lose towers and racks just yet. Blade server technology might not be the best alternative. These answers to five blade server technology questions will help you decide which way you should go. Continue Reading

3Go micro-

Small microservers are a large chunk of the market

The microserver market is expanding -- thanks to scalability, simplicity and more. See how these small servers are shaking up the data center.


Microservers contest x86 server norms

Simpler, denser and cheaper, microservers have three legs up on x86 servers. But microservers are provisioned differently, making implementation challenging for some. Continue Reading


When microservers are the wrong choice

Microservers are more than just machines that fill in where other server form factors leave off. While the advantages of microservers are significant, when are low-end servers more cost-effective? Continue Reading


Dell's dive into the microserver market

Dell's microservers may keep up with client device innovation, but application specificity is hindering adoption. See how the company's experience with servers stacks up against HP Moonshot. Continue Reading


Intel takes hold of SoC processors for microservers

Leaving behind the x86 server approach, Intel is picking up system-on-a-chip processors for small-computing devices. As more companies seek to build arrays of low-end processors to outperform Intel-based systems, Intel has no choice but to keep up. Continue Reading


The microserver fork in the road

Should you go with low-power cores like Cavium, or a high-performance computing approach like Applied Micro? With companies vying for the top chip spot, the microserver market is expanding faster than ever before. Continue Reading

4Server stuff-

Important server lingo

With all of the available server options, you need to speak the language to get the right systems. Here is a list of important definitions that will give you further insight into your purchasing decisions.

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