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RTA (recovery time actual)

Contributor(s): Michael Herrera, Meredith Courtemanche

RTA (recovery time actual) is the amount of real-world time it takes for an organization to recover its systems and business processes following an unplanned disruption; that amount of time can differ significantly from the recovery time objective (RTO), although ideally it should be the same or better.

RTA is an important metric in disaster recovery testing, used to assess the success or failure of an organization's disaster recovery plan (DRP).

The RTO is the maximum tolerable length of time that a given system or business process can be down after a failure or disruption occurs. An RTO is measured in seconds, minutes, hours or days and is an important consideration in disaster recovery planning. Businesses can refer to the RTO for guidance, for example, on whether or not to implement emergency measures or particular recovery strategies.

Recovery point objective (RPO), is the maximum tolerable data loss acceptable for a system and can be measured in seconds, minutes, hours or days. Following a disruption, systems and their data must be restored to the predefined RPO to minimize loss of data and information.

RTA also stands for real-time application, which refers to a program that functions within a time frame that the user senses as immediate or current. The latency for an RTA must be less than a defined value, usually measured in seconds.


This was last updated in November 2015

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What is referred to in this article as RTO is by certifiable ISO standards and guidelines still called MAO or MTPD. Organizations rely on ISO and in this context it is my opinion that the article is slightly incorrect.


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