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Definition: graceful degradation

A system that continues to run at some reduced level of performance after one of its components fails. It is a level below fault-tolerant systems, which continue running at the same rate of speed. For example, a two-computer complex employing graceful degradation would be reduced to using one system if the other fails. With fault tolerance, a third computer would be standing by to take over in the event of failure. See fault tolerant and graceful exit.