Vertical Scaling

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What Does Vertical Scaling Mean?

The term "vertical scaling" as it is generally applied in IT refers to building up resources, in contrast to the term "horizontal scaling" which involves building out. These two different types of scaling work differently based on the hardware and software resources involved.

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Techopedia Explains Vertical Scaling

One of the most basic ways to think about vertical scaling is that managers are adding extra capability or power to a single component. Installing more memory or processing power on a single computer would be a practical example of vertical scaling. On the other hand, with horizontal scaling, managers would be simply connecting multiple components to collaborate, for example, networking many computers together in order to share their capabilities.

In some of the most advanced kinds of new data storage and other technologies, horizontal scaling has become popular, partially because of the mix-and-match approach that can be used with fairly generic hardware pieces. It can be far easier to simply keep adding components than to try to manage the capability of a single component. For example, in sophisticated distributed file systems (DFS), experts report that IT managers often use a large number of generic or low-cost server units or other hardware pieces, putting together complicated software packages that allow these hardware pieces to work seamlessly together. However, vertical scaling can be an effective solution for some kinds of IT upgrades.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.