Re: What does "scalable" mean?

Subject: Re: What does "scalable" mean?
From: Joaquim Baptista <px -at- EASYSOFT -dot- PT>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 18:31:46 +0100

At 08:55 98/04/27 -0700, Dan Brinegar wrote:
>At 9:37 AM -0400 4/27/98, Brian Lightfoot wrote:
>>What does it mean when someone says that a server[or database] is scalable
>>or not scalable?
>If the term is being applied in a technical sense, rather than a marketing
>sense, "scalable" means one can add hardware or software modules to
>increase capacity or capabilities -- say you're going from 500 users to
>5000 users on your intranet server: adding memory to the machine, and
>changing settings in the "Users" control panel to allow 5000 simultaneous
>connections would mean the thing was "scalable." If, on the other hand, you
>had to add ten new *servers* to handle the increase, in a technical sense
>*that* system would *not* be "scalable", although the kids in marketing
>might make a claim of scalability anyway...

I do not agree.

Being scalable is a property of an architecture or, in plain English, a
technical solution.

For instance (shameless plug) my company sells a product to record voice.
The minimal useful configuration requires one server PC and one client PC,
and can perform up to 64 simultaneous recordings. If you need 100
recordings, you add a second client PC. If you need 1000 simultaneous
recordings, you will need 15 client PCs and perhaps 2 server PCs.
Therefore, you roughly need twice the hardware to handle twice the load.
That's what makes the solution scalable.

Supose that you could not replicate servers, and that each server could
only handle 10 client PCs. You would need a different technical solution
to handle more than 640 simultaneous recordings. You would say that "the
solution does not scale beyond 640 simultaneous recordings".

BTW, the numbers were just invented. I don't have the exact specifications
of the product handy.
Joaquim Baptista, alias pxQuim Precisa de uma contabilista?
- px -at- easysoft -dot- pt (01) 8684294

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