Scalability

When I looked for a definition of the word scalable I discovered it is a buzz word that hasn’t made it into the mainstream dictionaries. The webopedia definition says that scalable refers to how well a hardware or software system reacts to increased demands.

I was in a meeting the other day where scalability came up. I’m sure you’ve had those kinds of conversations. One person told theirĀ  scalability story and then the next person had a better one and so on. I mentioned the Vatican web site’s need to be scalable when the Pope died (Sun systems helped with that). Someone else mentioned Visa’s need to be scalable at Christmas time butĀ  my favorite was the Intuit person who told us the very large number of income tax returns that Intuit’s TurboTax for the Web filed in the 36 hours before the filing deadline. The number of returns filed per minute was staggering. And as she said just imagine the consequences if the system had not been able to handle the load. I doubt that the IRS would have been very forgiving for late filings if the reason had been Intuit’s system failed. Luckily Intuit’s system is highly scalable and very reliable.

So I’d love to hear some other scalability stories. I bet there are some good ones out there.