Even for IT experts the future is hard to imagine, remember where technology was in the year 2000 and think about how the world could be different in 2040. But as a business leader, you need a plan for your IT infrastructure so that it can lay the pathway for future growth and, at the very least, doesn’t get in your way. Knowing when to scale up versus scaling out will help you put this plan together.
Scaling up – sometimes called vertical scaling, is the act of improving and upgrading existing hardware.
This might be by replacing outdated tech with new servers, adding RAM, upgrading the discs or adding processors to existing servers. Scaling up allows you to do more within the blueprint of your existing server structure (and potentially in the same server room) and is a fairly quick and easy fix when you are running out of capacity. However, scaling up offers limited growth potential as individual servers can only be upgraded to a finite point. It’s a short-term fix.
Scaling out – or horizontal scaling, is where you add additional servers, or nodes, to your IT infrastructure.
When scaling out you either have to network the nodes together into clusters, or use specific servers for specific workloads and hope that everyone knows what is stored where. Adding more servers increases the footprint of your infrastructure, at which point you may need to move to a data centre. Scaling out is a better long-term growth option – and something you will have to do at some point if you continue to grow – but is also more complicated to manage. The more nodes you add, the more points of failure you introduce, both on the technical and security side. Expertise is required to manage the network and ensure the different nodes are communicating as they should, a data centre can also help advise on this.
If your company is looking at either of these options, feel free to get in touch with the Sweethaven team. We would be glad to discuss further.