Somehow, through some circuitous route, we started to talk about omelets at work. I really have no idea how this came up, but it came up.

I’m at Amazon, as you likely know, and we started talking about how to scale omelets. Because, well, of course, that’s what you talk about, right?

What defines horizontal versus vertical scaling? How well can either scale? What are the limits?

We’re not supposed to have “trick” interview questions, but this might be an interesting thing to ask… (no, I’m not going to ask)

My take on this? Vertical scaling is making bigger and bigger omelets. Not taller omelets, mind you; those would be souffles. The record for the largest omelet, as recorded by Guinness, is 145,000 eggs. Horizontal scaling is just having more pans.

Horizontal scaling works way better in this case. You never hear of the hundreds of thousands of omelets that are made every day, but the biggest one, which costs more than proportionally more, gets news.