What is "Scalability"?

Christopher Rice

This is one of the most common themes in our environment today:

This is one of the most common themes in our environment today:

Is it scalable? 

This is the number one question I hear when discussing new server products.  It has become a common barb against many of the Microsoft products (including the Backoffice suite).

I do not agree with this notion, but I have seen it come up a lot. 

Basically, scalability is determined by the ability to add to (or subtract from) an environment without having any adverse (mainly performance based) problems.

Here is a link to some whitepapers on scalability:


Here is a link to a freeware tool for testing scalability for Web servers:


Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to see if your network/software/infrastructure are scalable:

  • If I add 100 users to my network, will there be any impact?  What about 1000 users?

  • In 6 months, at my current rate of expansion, will I need more servers?

  • If I add more administrators, can my server software handle all of them accessing it at the same time?

  • If I need to expand into a new office, can my network support a new routed subnet?

  • If people start to work from home, can I handle more RAS traffic?


Just some food for thought.

This article was originally published on Jul 31, 2002
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