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A single point of failure (SPOF) is a critical system component with the ability to cease system operations during failover. SPOFs are undesirable to systems requiring reliability and availability, such as software applications, networks or supply chains.
In computing, SPOFs are identified and resolved through redundant and high-availability clusters. For example, upon machine failure, another machine immediately assumes lost functions and responsibilities. Similar redundancy designs are often employed at internal component levels. At system levels, multiple machines or systems provide required redundancy. Replication is used at the site level, where another site or location is prepared to take over in the event of sudden site access failure.
Highly reliable systems are designed without SPOFs. This means that failure of a component, system or site does not halt system or operational functions.