Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Machine Learning , @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

The Problem with Cloud SLAs

The desire to hold their cloud providers accountable with strict SLAs has forced providers to define metrics

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) offered by cloud providers are too often about Specification and not Service. It should come as no surprise that vanity metrics, like Availability, are used instead of business metrics because they are simple to measure and easy to misconstrue. Metrics that truly matter, like "will I be able to delight my customer," are about as far removed as one can imagine. It should come as no surprise, then, that in a recent survey of 740 CIOs and IT Leaders 97% wanted more than a simple Availability guarantee.

Imagine a company selling a premium new car whose warranty includes 2M piston revolutions, 10k door latch cycles, and 20k window open and closes. And even then, with 99.5% availability, you might still be unable to start the car two days a year, or during winter there might be two weeks where the doors won't unlock until the sun melts the ice in the door locks. Ready to buy?

Of course not. So, why would you risk your business and revenue streams on an equally shaky Specification Level Agreement? Not to pick specifically on HP, but let's take a look at their "industry-leading SLA." While HP touts the 99.95% availability, which works out to about 4 hours per year, it also states that downtime isn't considered downtime until 6 minutes of outage has already accrued. It also doesn't consider server downtime if that server could be rebuilt in the same zone. So if your site goes down on Black Friday, 6 minutes might elapse before you know about it, and it's not their fault as long as you could have launched a new server in the same datacenter.

In reality you don't have 6 minutes, in fact you have less than 6 seconds before you lose your customer. As a business in a social and always-on world, your bottom line depends on meeting or exceeding the expectation of every customer, and if (or more likely when) you run into a hiccup, proactive handling of the issue is your best chance to retain that customer and earn their business back. Customers are savvy, they realize no company is perfect but they expect a high level of responsiveness and attention to their unique experience - not a blanket apology posted on some status blog they never would have seen.

So what's needed? A SLA for the customer; not for the provider

The desire to hold their cloud providers accountable with strict SLAs has forced providers to define metrics they can easily measure, and often work around. The reality is that accountability matters to the end users, and that is where the focus needs to be. In my next post, I'll explain how best to approach your provider to get your SLA to work for you.

For further insight into the cloud, click here to view the full report and the accompanying press release.

More Stories By Michael Masterson

Michael Masterson is a results driven technology executive with 12 years of experience in Social, Mobile, and Enterprise Software. He currently leads business development and strategy for Compuware APM with a focus on Big Data and Cloud. Previously he held product management, strategy, and engineering roles at IBM. He has a passion for product, perseverance to build channel ecosystems, and focuses on execution. Reach him at @mlmasterson

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...