"A lot of users do not see a TCO justification," said Sarang Ghatpande, senior research analyst at Ideas International, which interviewed 30 CIOs about their blade rollout plans.
"The mainstream customer market is standing on the sidelines."
The biggest issue for the deployment of blades, which promise cheaper operating costs than traditional rack servers due to their compact form factor and minimal requirement for cabling, is that their different design makes co-existence with existing systems something of a challenge.
"Integrating into the existing business structure is the biggest barrier to the adoption of blade servers," said Ghatpande.
"A lot of investment is needed to get blades into the data centre."
Perhaps for that reason, blades have proved just as popular with medium-sized firms as with the large, data-intensive enterprises that were the original target market for blade vendors.
"Medium businesses have been more aggressive in their deployment of blades," said Ghatpande, noting that sites in emerging markets such as India and China which didn't have legacy equipment were likely candidates to adopt them.
Other analysts also see blades remaining a specialised market for now.
"It'll be used mainly for edge computing," IDC analyst Martin Hingley commented in late 2004. "We don't see it doing transaction processing and monitoring kind of stuff."