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Examples include checkpointing, dynamic linking, and persistence.
As an example, a database that must be backward-compatible with previous versions of its on-disk file format, must accomplish the same type of state transformation expected of a dynamic updating system.
Some DSU systems require neither static analysis nor specialty compilers.
Programs that are updated by a DSU system are referred to as target programs.
Current operating systems and programming languages are typically not designed with DSU in mind.
As such, DSU implementations commonly either utilize existing tools, or implement specialty compilers.
The earliest precursor to dynamic software updating is redundant systems.
In a redundant environment, spare systems exist ready to take control of active computations in the event of a failure of the main system.
The hot spare would be periodically seeded with a checkpoint of the primary system.In the event of a failure, the hot spare would take over, and the main machine would become the new hot spare. In the event of an update, the hot spare would activate, the main system would update, and then the updated system would resume control.