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Data Center Expansion – Scaling Up vs. Scaling Out

The use and consumption of data have increased by many folds in the last few months, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak and numerous lockdowns paved the way for more contactless, digital methods taking over traditional ones. The reality is such that, with such an increase in data, data centers are being forced to expand to deliver the best to their customers and provide them with quality support.

Typically, data center expansions come in two commonly used approaches – scaling up (moving vertically) and scaling out (moving horizontally). 

Before you devise a strategy for your data center expansion, understand the differences between the two. 

Scaling Up

To scale up a data center would mean increasing the computing capacity by adding more high-performance resources to your on-premises servers. You would typically need more SSDs, a Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM), and a central processing unit (CPU). For scaling up, two pertinent factors need to be considered – the amount of workload that your data center would have to take on and the components that would create an impact on your data center.


Scaling up does not require a high cost on networking equipment or purchasing licenses. 

Scaling up is a straightforward process where the quality of the equipment and resources matter more than quantity. 

This option of data center expansion encourages virtualization thereby reducing the cost of power and investing in more cooling solutions. 


Scaling up is not recommended as a long-term strategy. 

Limits an organization, especially one that intends to grow in the next 3-5 years. 

Quality equipment and resources aside, the performance delivery is not necessarily as promised. 

Scaling Out

Scaling out involves using existing resources to its full potential. And post that, if need be, you may invest in more resources to increase performance. With such an option, you can experiment with the resources and work towards reducing downtime, existing faults, and monitoring systems more efficiently.


There’s no dearth of space. In fact, the space of your data center becomes a primary factor in deciding whether you need to scale up or out. Scaling out typically means that you need to address every other concern but needn’t worry about one crucial factor – space.

With scaling out, you can try out the latest technology without feeling limited. 

An organization that aims to grow year by year needn’t worry about if the scaling out approach is in place. 


With so many equipment and resources, cost becomes a huge factor as renewing licenses and purchasing the latest technology regularly can become expensive. 

Such an approach requires aggregated management, which can sometimes lead to issues if not managed properly. 

You would need additional help in managing the increasing workload – therefore more time and money spent on resources. 

Now that you know the differences between the two approaches with respect to data center expansion, you can rule out the pros and cons based on what works best for you to choose your approach wisely! 

Data center scalability is critical, especially now more than ever. While you might have all the resources ready, do you have all the equipment required to keep your resources up and running for a long, long time? Look no further! Hardy Racks is an ISO certified company and a leading manufacturer of secure data center racks and accessories. Get in touch with us today for an expert consultation on how to set up and run your data center efficiently especially during this crisis!

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