Niraj Bhatt – Architect's Blog

Ruminations on .NET, Architecture & Design


While talking of IT Service Continuity planning, an IT aspect of Business continuity planning, terms RTO and RPO have become a common place. While both terms can have different meaning depending on the context, for IT they largely represent acceptable downtime or time to recover IT operations to normal. Below is a brief overview.

RTO – Recovery Time Objective is permissible system downtime after a breakdown event. If downtime exceeds this limit, it’s bound to cause impact to the business (most likely financially). RPO – Recovery Point Objective is the permissible time of data loss during a failover. Though RPO is an involved term, for simplistic example consider a RPO limit of 2 hours set by company X – this could translate that during a disaster event when the secondary site is activated the data loss (sync window) between primary and secondary shouldn’t be more than 2 hours.

Normally, there isn’t one RTO and RPO for a given organization, rather is different and attributed to the service / system in context. Systems with aggressive RTO / RPO are costlier to run compared to the ones with relaxed guidelines. Most enterprises mandate SLAs around RTO / RPO from their service providers. Also, If your primary focus is just around databases you can pick up one of these approaches. Please leave your comments below with additional thoughts on this topic.


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