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This content is part of the Essential Guide: Disaster prevention and mitigation strategies: Strike early and often
Definition

recovery time objective (RTO)

The recovery time objective (RTO) is the maximum tolerable length of time that a computer, system, network, or application can be down after a failure or disaster occurs. 

The RTO is a function of the extent to which the interruption disrupts normal operations and the amount of revenue lost per unit time as a result of the disaster. These factors in turn depend on the affected equipment and application(s). An RTO is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, or days and is an important consideration in disaster recovery planning (DRP).

Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to determine the cost of downtime for various applications in enterprise operations. These studies indicate that the cost depends on long-term and intangible effects as well as on immediate, short-term, or tangible factors. Once the RTO for an application has been defined, administrators can decide which disaster recovery technologies are best suited to the situation. For example, if the RTO for a given application is one hour, redundant data backup on external hard drives may be the best solution. If the RTO is five days, then tape, recordable compact disk (CD-R) or offsite storage on a remote Web server may be more practical.

See also: recovery point objective

This was last updated in August 2011

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Your definition of RTO is actually the Maximum Allowable Downtime (MAD).
RTO is the estimated time it will take to restore a system to acceptable levels of operation.
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Hi gentlemen, to make a DR Site for my company, can anyone help me do it? I have 3 servers Dell 720 servers with 2 processor and 128 GB Ram for each server. I want to combine these servers to be one entity using Hyper-V. What is the application needed to replicate or copy my data from the original site to the DR site?
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