What Is A Fault Tolerant Design?

Written by Caitlin Davidson

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Fault Tolerant Design Defined

A fault tolerant design is  a system (network, computer, cluster) design that has the ability to continue operating without interruption or error when one or more of its components fail. These types of systems can automatically detect a failure of the computer processor unit, motherboard, power supply or network components. Once the failure point is identified, a backup component or procedure immediately takes its place with, resulting in no interruption, error or loss of service .

The objective of creating a fault-tolerant system is to prevent disruptions arising from a single point of failure, ensuring the business continuity of task-critical applications or systems.

Fault tolerant design uses backup components that automatically take the place of failed components. These include:

  • A hardware system that is backed up by identical or equivalent systems.
  • A software system that is backed up by other software instances. Meaning, if the primary database goes down, operations can be automatically redirected to the second database.
  • Power sources that are made fault tolerant using alternative sources.

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