Disaster Recovery 101: RPO vs RTO

Dec 05, 2021 · 1 min read · Post a comment

RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) are two of the most crucial and key parameters as part of a disaster recovery plan. Even though RTO and RPO sound alike, obviously there are major differences between them which I’m going to try to explain them in a simple manner.


RPO measures how much data is tolerable for the business to be lost during a disruptive event. Some key factors to determine the RPO includes maximum acceptable data loss and multiple types of costs: data loss, data storage, DR implementation, etc.

How often do we take full and incremental backups? or, simply put, time period between data backups is tightly related to the maximum acceptable data loss, and it’s usually a starting point in RPO calculation.

Nowadays, having a modern infrastructure often means hosted on the cloud, multi-cloud or hybrid (on-premise and cloud), hence you have the freedom to be “creative” when planning the 3-2-1 backup strategy, since cloud providers and third-party vendors both come with managed backup services.


On the other hand, RTO measures how much time do we need to get the business service(s) up and running after a disruptive event occurs, basically a recovery time. To determine RTO, key factors include the recovery procedure and cost of having a standby site whenever it’s a cold, warm or hot standby which heavily impacts the budget.

Today, almost everyone aims for the cloud, hence the major cloud providers usually offer managed services and good documentation focused on disaster recovery strategies.


    RPO                                 RTO
     |                                   |
     |     hours                         |
     |                     |             |
     |                     |             |
     |     <data lost>     |  <downtime> |


TL;DR while RPO focuses on how much data is lost during a disaster, RTO focuses on how much time we need to recover. Feel free to leave a comment below and if you find this tutorial useful, follow our official channel on Telegram.