What is Scalability?
Scalability refers to the ability of a particular system or process to be able to function efficiently even with growing demands of tasks to be processed or users to accommodate. It may be that certain hardware or software enhancements may be done to cater to the growth of the process or system usage. But overall, the system or the process should remain pretty much the same with all the reliable features and with some additional new features and improvements.
In the case of a business organization, some of the systems and processes used by a particular company may be called “scalable” if it can adapt to the increasing demand and growth of the business environment. To meet up with demand and growth of the business for example, a particular company many need to secure additional resources like computer hardware to continue to run the business effectively with increased demand and/or customers.
Scalability can also be applied to technological products and services. In the case of email service providers, over time, more and more people will take advantage of the service and use the system in place. In this case, the company’s server, where all email messages from all customers are stored, can only take so much depending on its capacity. Too many emails and files traveling within the email service network may cause downtime and even computer crashes. In this case, the company involved may need to add additional servers and/or enhance existing resources with updates to the email service functionality. But the whole system must be “scalable” enough so upgrades can be done without disrupting the service to all customers or clients using the email service.
Besides scaling systems to cater to growth and larger processes involved, scalability may also be applied to downsizing of a system or service. Similar to scaling up through new hardware and/or software enhancements, a scale-down of system features may also be done.