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Fault tolerance

Fault tolerance

(also fail-safe mechanism, fault-tolerant computing)

Fault tolerance definition

Fault tolerance in computing refers to the ability of a system, network, or application to continue functioning effectively even when a component fails, such as a server, data center, or connection. It’s a crucial aspect of any system design, ensuring business continuity and minimizing downtime in case of unexpected failures.

See also: end-to-end encryption

Fault tolerance examples

  • Redundant systems: Redundancy is a common approach to achieving fault tolerance. For example, having multiple servers in a network that can step in if one fails, maintaining the functionality of the system.
  • RAID storage: RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a data storage fault tolerance method that duplicates data across multiple disks. This allows data to be recovered if a disk fails.

Pros and cons of fault tolerance


  • Business continuity: By maintaining the functionality of a system even in the case of component failure, fault tolerance ensures that businesses can continue to operate and serve their clients.
  • Data protection: Fault tolerance methods like RAID provide protection against data loss, an important consideration for any business.


  • Complexity and cost: Building a fault-tolerant system can be complex and costly because it often involves duplication of hardware, software, and data.
  • Maintenance: Fault-tolerant systems require meticulous maintenance and monitoring to ensure all components are working and updated.

Fault tolerance tips

  • Plan for the unexpected: Building fault tolerance into a system involves considering all potential points of failure and how they can be mitigated.
  • Monitor system health: Regular checks of the system’s health and swift response to alerts can prevent system failure.

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