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Mean Time Between Failures

At one point or another, every kind of technology experiences some kind of failure, whether it’s minor or much more involved. That’s where mean time between failures (MTBF) comes in — it’s a measure of a hardware product’s reliability that’s calculated by predicting the amount of time between each individual failing. MTBF is only used for repairable systems and should be relatively high. It only applies to the interval between the time the piece went online to an unplanned outage, not routine, planned maintenance. While it is a prediction, it can be calculated based on the performance of comparable pieces of hardware both internally and externally. The higher the MTBF, the longer the hardware is expected to last without maintenance or human intervention. If the MTBF is relatively low, it’s time to consider replacing the piece of hardware entirely, especially if it has been superseded by a more advanced or effective piece of technology.

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