We often get questions about the kinds of hosting there are and how they differ from one another, and one of the best ways to explain this has been to ask our customers to envision the following real estate analogy.
When improving your business’s infrastructure is the goal, there are different ways that companies can go. There are often decisions that need to be made in terms of where to allocate resources and where to make improvements. When it comes to your computer systems, web hosting, and other computer-based needs, many people are curious as to whether or not they should be scaling horizontally or they should be scaling vertically. The best place to start when figuring out which is best for you is by making sure you are aware of what each is.
What is horizontal and vertical scaling?
Scaling horizontally means that you scale by increasing the number of machines available. There can be many benefits to having more individual machines in your resource pool. Virtualization and/or load-balancing are used in order to distribute resources between servers, which our team can help you configure. The biggest benefit of this solution is that as a rule, once initially set up with 2 or 3 instances, it can grow nearly indefinitely and sustain higher and higher loads.
Some people choose to put more focus on scaling vertically, which is when there is an increase in power but not an increase in the number of total machines available. Vertical scaling can include adding more to your CPU power, your RAM, or other improvements to existing machines, or migrating to more powerful ones, with their number kept the same. Vertical scaling naturally has a limit – even the most powerful, fastest servers reach the limit of their capabilities. Scaling vertically is a good solution, for example, when you are upgrading a VPS, or when it is time to move to a dedicated server. More and more powerful servers are available, and it is often a cheaper immediate solution to add more RAM or choose a faster CPU than to get a whole new, identical server.
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Each of these has different benefits and can help expansion in different ways. To determine which one is best, you will need to address and decide what your business goals are. Depending on the type of growth you are expecting, you can choose which of those makes the most sense. Our team can help you evaluate the requirements of the growth goals you have. After determining the needs to accomplish your goals, it is easier to assess whether or not adding more computers to your pool of resources or improving the existing computers you already have is the best solution. Sometimes companies choose to have a balance of both methods.
In many cases, it is a better plan to see if the requirements your goals have can be met by increasing the capacity of the machines you have already purchased. If improving a single computer from the collection of devices you already have will meet your requirements, and suffice for the future, it is likely a more cost-efficient way to go. If this type of solution will not work or is only a solution that will work for too short of a period, consider scaling horizontally, also called a scale-out approach, it may be the best way to go.
Of course, there is also an option of doing a combination of both, and choosing the best answer for your specific situation. All managed MojoHost customers can request a free evaluation of their current infrastructure and advice on ways to scale their particular setup. MojoHost is always here to assist, so feel free to reach out or log in to your account and start a ticket.