Service Level Agreements should ideally be agreements that describe the services delivered, customer obligations, warranties, disclaimers, service management levels, service availability and termination clauses. There are some important factors that the buyer should consider when discussing the SLA with a provider:
- How do the provider calculate the availability figure? You need to understand their formula and also ask if the calculation is based per month, quarterly, annually or something else.
- How does the service schedule look like (planned maintenance)?
- Does the provider have some disclaimers in regard to “software failures”?
- Response times and latencies: How are they measured?
- Start time for provisioning a new system?
- End time to de-provision a system?
- Emergency halt clauses?
- Easy accessible information on service levels and historical statistics?
In conjunction with the pure SLA discussions you as a buyer should also consider the management and logging procedures. What levels of systems management do you get by default, and what management measures can you implement? Is it possible to get system log information from the provider?
As you can see, there are numerous areas to cover before going into an agreement. This is even more evident when you are running a global operation. But, there is another dimension that has to be considered: There is a huge difference between IaaS and SaaS services.
More will follow on this topic.
By Predrag Mitrovic of CloudTweaks