A stand-alone server, or rack-mounted server, is a physical computer dedicated to run one or more services on a network (as a host) to serve the needs of the users of other computers on a network. Depending on the computing service that it offers, it could be a database server, file server, mail server, print server, web server, gaming server, or some other kind of server. Stand-alone servers differ from blade servers in that they typically contain separate power and cooling functions, are larger, yet more cost-effective for small deployments.
A blade server is a stripped-down server computer with a modular design optimized to minimize the use of physical space and energy. A blade enclosure, which can hold multiple blade servers, provides services such as power, cooling, networking, various interconnects and management. Together, blades and the blade enclosure form a blade system.