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The arbiter is an independent system hosting an ISCAgent with which the failover members of a mirror maintain continuous contact, providing them with the context needed to safely make failover decisions when they cannot communicate directly. A single arbiter can serve multiple mirrors, but a single mirror can use only one arbiter at a time. Use of an arbiter is not required, but is strongly recommended as it significantly increases the range of failure scenarios under which automatic failover is possible.

Mirror Failover Members and Arbiter
The arbiter is not part of the mirror, but connects to the failover members over the network, like the mirror's clients.

The arbiter plays no role in failover mechanics when the backup is not active.

Configuring a system as arbiter involves minimal software installation and does not require that InterSystems IRIS be installed. The arbiter uses minimal system resources and can be located on a system that is hosting other services, or even a workstation. The primary requirement concerning the arbiter is that it must be located and configured to minimize the risk of unplanned simultaneous outage of the arbiter and a single failover member; see Locating the Arbiter to Optimize Mirror Availability for more information.

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