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Chapter 19. Reliable and Scalable Systems > Enterprise-Class Concepts

Enterprise-Class Concepts

The systems we describe in this chapter are often called enterprise-class systems, because companies depend on them to run their businesses.[1] Because the terms that refer to the important characteristics of these systems are used for both technical and marketing purposes, it's helpful to be precise about what we mean.

[1] Sometimes the term carrier-class is used to imply a higher level of one or more of these properties. It comes from the system requirements for telecommunications carriers, who must operate their services reliably under adverse conditions.

In this context, reliability is a measure of how likely a component is to fail, whether that component is a piece of hardware or a program. This is sometimes measured as mean time between failures (MTBF), which expresses the average amount of time that elapses before the component fails. Hardware manufacturers sometimes make available information about the MTBF of, for example, components such as disk drives. A related idea is mean time to repair (MTTR), which is a measure of how long it takes to fix something that has broken.


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