What is Horizontal Scaling?

Written by BTSE

November 6, 2019

What is Horizontal Scaling?
Horizontal scaling is a term that may sound complicated, but is simple in nature.

In its simplest form, horizontal scaling involves expanding a system to handle higher demand and usage via the addition of extra components, as detailed in a GitHub post by Vaquar Khan. In contrast, vertical scaling increases a current system’s strength to handle more activity.

Using a real-world example, let’s say you need to rake the leaves in your front yard, which is quite large. Vertical scaling means someone gives you an energy drink to boost your energy and strength to better handle the task. Horizontal scaling means someone drops a few friends off at your house to help you accomplish the task.


Horizontal Scaling on BTSE

BTSE uses horizontal scaling. This means the exchange adds servers as necessary to handle more traders, traffic and activity as demand for the platform grows.

Typical crypto exchanges use traditional out-of-the-box solutions, like generic databases for storage and matching engine. These products were not built to sustain high-volume transactions and hence are not scalable. The proof lies in the rate limiting and system overloads that plague even major exchange platforms. BTSE’s solution is a custom-built design specifically developed to handle high-frequency and institutional trading which requires carrying out scalable operations. Other notable features in BTSE’s efforts besides horizontal scaling include hot upgrades and high fault tolerance which translate to zero downtime during upgrades – a feature that is vital in 24/7 cryptocurrency markets.

Let’s say a new exchange is only scaled to handle 500,000 traders at any given point. If millions of users begin trading, the platform might freeze, locking users out of trades and restricting their ability to close trades.

This can be a dangerous scenario. If the asset users are trading moves significantly in price while they are unable to exit trades due to such congestion, significant losses can be the consequence.

BTSE also has its own data centers and hosts its servers physically instead of relying on cloud providers. This adds security and speed to the platform and its performance.

More specifically, the BTSE team created its own load-balancing algorithms at the matching engine level, constituting the software organization and optimization of the server hardware to ensure high-grade performance with no system overloads due to its module capability.


Our aim is to create a platform that offers users the most enjoyable trading experience. If you have any feedback, please reach out to us at feedback@btse.com or on Twitter @BTSE_Official.

Note: BTSE Blog contents are intended solely to provide varying insights and perspectives. Unless otherwise noted, they do not represent the views of BTSE and should in no way be treated as investment advice. Markets are volatile, and trading brings rewards and risks. Trade with caution.

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