A history of the Blade server

Blades are usually powerful computers in their own right, but that’s not how they originally started. The prototype blade servers were created to be not so different from a micro server today.With intentionally weak processor for the purpose of low heat and low power consumption, today’s equivalent would be something along the lines of Supermicro’sMicroCloud systems or HP’s Moonshot.

Blade machines today normally contain two processors and as much RAM as an engineer can physically fit into a Blade box. They run top tier enterprise workloads and virtualisations, so they are obviously very big, very powerful, and energy hungry.

The days when Blade Servers were built out of spare laptop components and put into a chassis to keep the energy costs down are long gone. Nowadays they are a shining example to how compact and dense computing hardware can be when only a small area is available.


This method of engineering has created new generation of microblades. HP’s original idea was to allow a lot of low power, on weakened cores is still at the centre of their philosophy on Blade Servers. Now though, instead of shoving laptop parts into a shared chassis, they are now essentially putting the equivalent of smartphones into an even smaller chassis to reach the same goals. This is all thanks to the huge surge forward in mobile technology and miniaturisation of processors and RAM.

Since then, Blades can even be found in nearly every niche market. There is a lot of demand for relatively weak systems that otherwise have a lot of storage available. HP has made this possible with this new generation of Blade Server.

Some enterprises have need of a blade server which could handle expansion cards for telecommunication, and GPU based virtual desktop infrastructure too, which are also now available. This has made the blades architecture very flexible but still relatively cheap for the demand needed out of them.

The main use though, remains putting as much computational power as possible into a very small space while still keeping the system easy to manage and service over its lifetime.