Developers building high-power fiber lasers and diode pumped solid state lasers can receive significant benefits in thermal management and reliability by using single emitter multi-mode diodes in distributed pump architectures. This proposed distributed architecture relies on independent single emitter pump lasers and a modest level of pump redundancy. Driving the remaining diodes slightly harder componensates individual diode failures. A model of the ensemble lifetime based on module failure rates and power-scaling factors demonstrates that the distributed pump architecture requires random failure rates corresponding to better than 200,000h mean time between failure (MTBF), which meets typical industrial requirements. A high power, pigtailed, multi-mode pump module suitable for commercial applications is created through this model. Critical elements are based on telecom architectures, including the optical train and the fiber alignment. The module has a low thermal resistance of 4°C/W from the chip-on-sub-mount to the external heat sink, coupling efficiency of over 80% into 0.2 NA, and demonstrated reliable output power of over 5W cw with peak wavelengths near 915 nm. Individual pump modules are predicted to produce 5W cw output power with an MTBF of more than 400,000h. The relationship between anticipated MTBF requirements, test duration and test population is shown.