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What is the difference between horizontal and vertical scaling?

What is the difference between horizontal and vertical scaling? Linux extends applications and database capability with platform coverage and scalability. Horizontal and vertical scaling meet business processing demands across multiple platforms and computing architectures. Scalability is a key success factor for business applications in a dynamic environment. Platform scalability is expressed in the number of processors driven by one...

operating system (2-way, 4-way, 8-way and so on).

The growth of processors within one operating environment is called vertical scaling. Horizontal scaling is leveraging multiple systems to work together on a common problem in parallel. Each system has its own operating system and one or more processors controlled by each system image. "Blade Servers" are based on this model where a dedicated processor board with one or more processors runs Linux on each board. With full horizontal scaling, tasks can be split up across multiple Linux images running on multiple systems. Linux runs six of the ten supercomputers in www.top100.org. They are:

  • #2 ASCI-Q (Los Alamos) 13.8 TFs (Alpha)
  • #3 MCR (Lawrence Livermore) 7.6 TFs (Xeon)
  • #6 ASCI Linux Clusters (Lawrence Livermore) 6.5 TFs (Xeon)
  • #8 Pacific Northwest National Labs 4.8 TFs (Itanium)
  • #9 Pittsburg Supercomputing Center 4.4TFs (Alpha)
  • #10 Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique 3.9TFs (Alpha)

Also, in the BlueGene/L IBM's new supercomputer, the letter "L" in the title stands for Linux.


This was first published in September 2003

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