Cold Standby

Cold Standby

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Cold Standby” is a term used in the realm of business continuity planning and disaster recovery. It refers to a backup method where an alternate system is fully configured and ready to be used in case the primary system fails or needs to be taken offline, but this backup system is not actively running or updated in real-time.

In a cold standby scenario, you’d have a duplicate of your primary system—this could be a server, data center, or even an entire business operation—but it’s not powered on or actively receiving data. It is, in essence, a reserve system that can be activated when needed. This is different from a “hot standby” or “warm standby” system, which is kept running and updated in real-time or near real-time with the primary system.

Cold standby solutions are often cheaper to maintain than hot or warm standbys, as they require less resources when they’re not in use. However, the trade-off is a longer recovery time in case of a failure, because the standby system might need to be started up, configured, or updated with recent data.

When considering whether to use a cold standby, you should think about your recovery time objective (RTO)—that is, how long you can afford to be without the system—and balance that against the costs of maintaining a more readily-available standby system.

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