Where did you live as a college student? With your parents? In a dorm room? In a small, off-campus apartment? What about now? If you have a spouse and/or children, would the same living arrangements suffice?
The answer is probably no; and the same thing happens as your business grows: What works when you’re a start-up may become highly inadequate as your client base expands, causing slow service or system failures. This is where scalability comes in.
When should I scale?
Before deciding to scale based on poor performance, try entering different SQL queries or bind variables. What you may think is a slow server may be the result of inadequate query structure. Or maybe it’s increased traffic. If you know for a fact that your user base has increased exponentially, you’ll need the adequate infrastructure to sustain it. If your problem is the latter, then you’ll definitely want to scale your database.
Which type of scaling would work best for my business?
Once you confirm that you do need to scale, you have to determine whether to do vertical or horizontal scaling. This will depend on your individual business needs and projections, as well as your budget.
If all you need is additional storage space, vertical scaling will do the trick. This is a relatively simple solution that won’t require additional administration or coding. Keep in mind though, that if you choose to go this route, it might only be a temporary solution, since you’d be limited to the size of your server.
However, if your business is going to be faced with an avalanche of traffic, it will serve you better to scale horizontally. Interconnecting additional hardware to your system will ease the burden on your database, in effect causing it to run more efficiently.