What is Software Scalability?

When investing in a cloud service, you want to ensure the software you are using is scalable. Software scalability allows businesses and other cloud users to increase or decrease the number of resources needed based on the workload demand. Here, “workload” may refer to users, storage capacity, the maximum amount of transactions, or other activities that surpass the system’s original capacity.

Simply put, scalability allows you to create a software service that adapts to your ever-changing needs as you expand and grow your business.

Horizontal Scaling

When the code on a machine needs to make more room for connections and requests, that system needs to scale. There are two different types of software scalability: Horizontal and vertical.

Horizontal scaling, also known as scaling “out,” is often used for enterprise purposes and uses additional machines to handle additional requests.
Since horizontal scaling adds more nodes to the system, users have the advantage of relying on multiple machines. In the case of a machine failure, there are still other servers responsible for handling data.

However, while horizontal scaling is convenient, safe, and effective, the strategy still comes with its drawbacks. Since the system spans multiple machines, the communication is typically slower than that of vertical scaling. Likewise, the data must communicate from machine to machine, which then becomes harder to maintain.

With that said, horizontal scaling scales well as users begin to increase.

Vertical Scaling

On the other hand, vertical scaling refers to adding additional resources to increase the power of the workload. Unlike horizontal scaling where the system is adding more machines, vertical scaling remains as one machine. That is why vertical scaling is often referred to as scaling “up” since it is the addition of CPUs to one existing Virtual Machine.

To break it down even further, vertical scaling is like buying a bigger machine, while horizontal scaling is like buying more machines. Unlike horizontal scaling, a machine that uses vertical scaling will have more centralized and consistent data because everything is stored within the same server. This singularity allows for inter-process communication, making the connections much faster than horizontal scaling.

However, only utilizing one machine means you are at a major loss in the case of a system failure. Additionally, vertical scaling users may hit a hardware limit that does not best serve their business or organization.

Whether a system uses vertical or horizontal scaling, both types of scaling allow the system to handle additional requests and add much-needed resources to a server.

What Software Scaling Strategy Do I Choose?

Investing in a cloud service or software is a big decision, and many businesses don’t know exactly what they are looking for or what they truly need. Scalability is a necessity for most businesses, but the type of server and scalability a business needs is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Cloud Let’s Go can help you navigate software scalability, cloud migration, and more. Contact us today at (612) 440-1157 to learn more about our cloud solution options and services for your business or healthcare organization.