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Scale Up vs. Scale Out

Scale up and scale out are two storage solutions that utilize different approaches in adding functionality and capacity to hardware.


What Is the Difference Between Scale Up and Scale Out?

The scale-up model or vertical system utilizes a fixed number of controller resources, along with several brackets of drives. As space runs out, you simply install another drive for additional capacity. However, it is limited in the sense that it could never go beyond the maximum capacity of the storage controller. Scale out, meanwhile, uses a clustering approach, and by bundling different nodes together, you can distribute the workload and so you can run data through multiple channels. Scale out is also known as a horizontal system.


What Are Scale-Up and Scale-Out Storage?

Vertical scale-up storage means boosting your main server’s capacity by adding processors, RAM, drivers, and disks. There are some advantages to this approach, including maximizing the use of your current hardware, limiting your energy consumption, while scalability is quite straightforward.

Horizontal scale-out storage, meanwhile, will replace your hardware to scale capacity, performance, and functionality. Scale out is supposed to be the natural progression of scale up because it addresses some of the latter’s limitations. For instance, you break the capacity restrictions of the controllers, resolve latency, boost uptime, and prepare your storage environments if you want to scale again in the future.


Scale-Up and Scale-Out Architecture

Scale up means you will install fewer servers with the potential to absorb larger workloads. The phrase “buying a bigger box” turns up a lot in the vertical architecture. With the extra room, you can throw in there several tools. With scale out, you will bundle smaller and less powerful servers that run simultaneously in your database environment. You redistribute data storage across these devices. You buy a small box, just enough to store your tools. As you collect more tools, you simply buy another box and so on.