Scale out by adding new nodes

Seamlessly scale your cluster on demand

In YugabyteDB, you can scale your cluster horizontally on demand by adding new nodes, without any interruption to your applications.

Initial setup

Suppose you have a 3-node cluster with 4 tablets and a replication factor (RF) of 3. You notice that the cluster is not balanced, with one node getting more traffic, and decide to add another node to the cluster.

Initial setup

To understand how tablets are formed and split, see Sharding & Rebalancing.


When a node is added, the tablets are rebalanced. The process starts by adding an additional replica for a tablet in the new node, and the new tablet bootstraps its data from the tablet leader. During this process, throughput is not affected as the data bootstrapping is asynchronous.

Add a new replica

Switch leaders

After the new replica has been fully bootstrapped, leader election is triggered for the tablet, with a hint to make the replica in the newly added node the leader. This leader switch is very fast.

New leader

Now that node 4 has a tablet leader, it can actively take on load, thereby reducing the load on other nodes.

Fix over-replication

When adding the new node, a new replica of tablet T4 was created. Now T4 has 4 copies, although the cluster is RF3. This over-replication is fixed by dropping one of the other replicas.

Drop replicas

Rebalance followers

Now that the leaders have moved to the new node and the over-replication has been fixed, followers are also re-distributed evenly across the cluster.

Rebalance followers

Fully scaled out cluster

After the rebalancing is done, you should see a reasonable distribution of leaders and followers across your cluster as follows:

Leader distribution

The cluster is now scaled out completely.

Load balancing

Now that you have successfully added a node and scaled your cluster, applications can connect to any node and send queries. But how will your application know about the new nodes? For this, you can use a YugabytedDB smart driver in your application. Smart drivers automatically send traffic to newly added nodes when they become active. Although you can use an external load balancer, smart drivers are topology-aware, and will failover correctly when needed.

Add a smart driver

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