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Cold standby

Cold standby

Cold standby definition

A cold standby is a backup system in case the main one stops working. A secondary system or component is kept offline and only activated when the primary system fails or needs maintenance.

See also: hot spare, backup, data backup

Benefits of cold standby

  • Cost-effective. Since cold standby systems are not on until needed, they consume less power and resources.
  • Lower maintenance. Cold standby systems need less maintenance when they are not in active use.
  • Suitable for non-critical applications. Cold standby is ideal for systems where downtime and real-time data synchronization aren’t critical.
  • Compliance and backup. Perfect for organizations that need backups for compliance reasons but don’t necessarily need instant failover.
  • Flexibility. Cold standby is easy to deploy in environments like remote or smaller sites.

History of cold standby

  • Early Computing and Telecom: In the initial stages of computing and telecommunications, backup systems were crucial but often offline due to high costs and limited technology. They were activated only when the main systems failed.
  • Data Center Growth: With the internet’s and enterprise computing’s expansion in the late 20th century, data centers increasingly used cold standby systems for backing up essential data, despite their relative inefficiency.
  • Disaster Recovery Focus: The importance of disaster recovery in IT, highlighted by significant data losses, elevated the role of cold standby in organizational strategies.
  • Technological Advancements: In the late 1990s and early 2000s, advancements in storage and networking made cold standby more feasible and widespread, extending its reach to more businesses.
  • Cloud Computing Impact: The rise of cloud computing further transformed cold standby solutions, offering cost-effective, flexible backup options, particularly benefiting smaller businesses.
  • Modern Applications: Today, cold standby remains integral to backup and disaster recovery, with advancements in automation and monitoring making it more sophisticated and manageable, especially when hot standby systems are not economically viable.

Further reading

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