Performance vs. Scalability


The term performance describes the capabilities of a software system, especially when observed under particular conditions. Performance can be defined with non-functional characteristics of a system that can be measured with metrics like response time or throughput.


Scalability describes the ability of a system to utilize additional resources as efficiently as possible to increase capacity. The best case would be a linear relation between resource and capacity increase.

Two types of scalability must be distinguished:

  • Vertical scalability
  • Horizontal scalability

Horizontal scalability is achieved by adding more nodes to a system, such as adding more server instances. Whereas vertical scalability is achieved by adding resources to a single node in a system, such as more CPU power.

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