Vertical Scaling vs. Horizontal Scaling
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This course offers an in-depth look at VM scale sets, VM configuration management, VM storage options, and VM monitoring within Azure. We kick things off by looking at VM scale sets, vertical scaling, and horizontal scaling.

After that, you'll learn about the tools used for configuration management, as well as how to deploy software using VM extensions and how to deploy an Azure PowerShell DSC Configuration.

The course will then cover the wide range of VM storage options available in Microsoft Azure and show you how to use them. Finally, you'll learn about Azure Monitor, a service that allows you to monitor the performance and health of your VMs and VM scale sets.

This course is packed full of step-by-step demonstrations that you can follow along with, allowing you to see all of the above topics put into practice in real-life Azure environments.

For any feedback relating to this course, please feel free to contact us at

Learning Objectives

  • Scale VMs using scale sets and understand the difference between vertical and horizontal scaling
  • Learn about the tools used for managing VM configurations
  • Deploy software using VM extensions and PowerShell DSC
  • Understand the various VM storage options available in Azure
  • Learn about Azure Monitor and its uses

Intended Audience

  • Anyone interested in learning about scale sets, configuration management, storage, and monitoring for Azure VMs


To get the most from this course you should have a basic understanding of Microsoft Azure and of the Azure portal.


Hello and welcome to Vertical Scaling vs. Horizontal Scaling. In the next lesson, I'm going to perform a demonstration that shows you how to deploy a VM scale set that implements autoscale. However, before we do that, it makes sense to quickly explain to you the different ways that you can scale.

There are two different ways of scaling. You can scale up and down, or you can scale in and out. Scaling up and down, which is also referred to as vertical scaling, is the process of upgrading an existing virtual machine to a more powerful virtual machine, or downgrading to a smaller, less powerful virtual machine. In Azure, this means resizing the existing VM to a larger size with more RAM and more CPU, or to a smaller size with less RAM and less CPU. Because vertical scaling involves the re-size of virtual machines, this kind of scaling results in VM restarts.

Scaling out is a way to handle an increased load on an application or website. Scaling out is commonly referred to as horizontal scaling. When you scale out, you keep the same VM size, but you add more VM instances to the scale set. Instead of growing the size of the VMs in the scale set, you increase the number of VMs in the scale set. When you scale back in, you reduce the number of VMs in the scale set.

You might want to use vertical scaling to scale down an application's server over the weekend, when the application is in use. By scaling down over the weekend, you can save on compute costs.

A common use for scaling in and out, or horizontal scaling, is when you have a public-facing website or web application. When supporting this type of application, it usually makes sense to add instances to support increased workloads, while removing instances when that load drops. This allows you to keep up with demand without causing an outage.

Microsoft recommends horizontal scaling whenever possible.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Tom is a 25+ year veteran of the IT industry, having worked in environments as large as 40k seats and as small as 50 seats. Throughout the course of a long an interesting career, he has built an in-depth skillset that spans numerous IT disciplines. Tom has designed and architected small, large, and global IT solutions.

In addition to the Cloud Platform and Infrastructure MCSE certification, Tom also carries several other Microsoft certifications. His ability to see things from a strategic perspective allows Tom to architect solutions that closely align with business needs.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys camping, fishing, and playing poker.