A blade is literally a self-contained server, which collectively fits into an enclosure with other blades. Sometimes known as a chassis, this enclosure provides the power, cooling, connectivity, and management to each blade. The blade servers themselves contain only the core processing elements, making them hot-swappable. HP refers to the entire package as a BladeSystem. To get a better idea of what a single blade contains, an HP ProLiant blade holds hot-plug hard-drives, multiple I/O cards, memory, multi-function network interconnects, and Integrated Lights Out remote management. For additional storage, blades can connect to another storage blade or to a network attached SAN.
When compared to other traditional rack-mount servers, a blade server can be dedicated to a single task, such as:
- Database and application hosts
- Virtual server host platforms
- Remote desktop or workstations
- File sharing
- Web page serving and caching
- SSL encrypting of Web communication
- Transcoding of Web page content for smaller displays
- Streaming audio and video content
In order to be able to carry out the designated task smoothly, the blade server should receive adequate support from the enclosure components such as the fans, power supply units, temperature sensors, etc. In other words, an inadvertent failure of a power supply unit or a sudden increase in the temperature of a sensor, can affect the operations of not just one, but all the blade servers within the enclosure. To avoid such eventualities, the enclosure and its core components need to be continuously monitored. This is where eG Enterprise lends helping hands to administrators.