In the field of technology, slave has two meanings. The more common one refers to a second hard drive in a series of connected drives. The other meaning refers to a secondary database server that is used either as an archive or as a live backup for the main server.
Generally speaking, any sort of slave device is a secondary one that is ordered below another (called the master), which primarily responds to requests and handles most traffic. Master-slave relationships can occur in a variety of situations in the tech world, and always feature a dominant and secondary device.
Technipages Explains Slave
In practice, the slave in a master/slave relationship between devices is a type of communication. Depending on the devices involved, it’s possible for a master device to be connected to multiple slave devices. Slave devices are technically identical to master devices, and can be arranged in varying orders. Whichever device takes the top spot becomes the master. If they are not completely identical (for example two hard-drives of differing sizes) usually the less powerful device will be the slave.
The master device has unidirectional control over all slaves, and almost all slave devices end up working as some sort of backup system or in a supporting role. In a database context, this means that the master database is the one that is actively being used, while any and all slave databases are synced to it and copy the primary one.
This makes slave devices exceedingly useful, as they can provide an efficient kind of backup or offer support without straining the resources of the main device. Constant syncing means that a backup never becomes outdated – when two active parts, such as graphics cards are used in a master/slave setting, they share the workload between themselves for maximum efficiency.
Common Uses of Slave
- Slave devices are assigned that role but don’t have any sort of physical distinction to master devices.
- The use of slave devices as supplementing devices is common in all sections of the tech world.
- Slave databases most often function as a live backup providing the most recent possible version to roll back to in case of an issue.
Common Misuses of Slave
- Slave devices are inferior drives coupled with more powerful ones.