Horizontal scale is the ability to add more computing instances to a service, application, system or analysis. One of the primary benefits of cloud infrastructure and related cloud platforms and services is that they provide horizontal scale without technical limitation. In other words, the scale of cloud is limited only by financial constraints, legal contracts or physical limitations such as the size of your data centers. The following are illustrative examples of horizontal scale.
A backend service for a mobile app uses a load balancer that evenly distributes users to instances. When load is heavy, the service is autoscaled to add more instances. When load is light, the instances may be scaled back.
Shared DatabaseA batch job is launched to 100 cloud instances with instances coordinating work using a cloud database.
A trading algorithm is architected as 6 separately deployable services. Each service can be horizontally scaled to multiple instances.
Global ScaleA content delivery network deploys media files to 32 data centers in different regions. Each user is served from the data center closest to them. This is implemented with a domain name service that returns different IP addresses for a service based on the user's location.
A solar panel management service is deployed to 12 data centers in different regions. Each solar panel system is served from the region closest to it. This can be implemented with the same architecture as a content delivery network. As such, it is common for a content delivery network to offer edge computing capabilities.
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