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I have read about scaling (in terms of terminology and methods). This got me confused about the following:

On a single computer, running a web server (say apache), if the system administrator adds a front, caching, reverse-proxy such as Varnish, which in that scenario increase the amount of requests this server is able to handle.

My question:

Setting up such cache increases the capacity of the server to handle work, hence scales it, but without increasing neither the amount of nodes or the node's capacity.

What is the name for this type of scaling?

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It's called caching. Or whatever other term you could think up for it.

Honestly, this is not really scaling per se, but is changing how your application is delivered at a fundamental level.

Scaling typically refers to load balancing across multiple nodes or at the very least, between multiple application servers on the same physical system.

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  • Dear @EEAA, that's what I was thinking as well but in various (and numerous!) article, this is referred as scaling, still and I'm rather confused, exactly for the reasons you've mentioned, as to how it should be referred to. – Phil Oct 19 '13 at 20:47
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    It shouldn't be called scaling. Scaling is something that is incrementally extensible. Caching static or nearly static content is just correct architecture; you can't use it to actually scale anything. – Falcon Momot Oct 19 '13 at 21:05

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