Do Cloud contracts guarantee performance ?

Are Cloud SLAs very simplistic ? Do they even capture the performance needed by customers ? Or, are they hiding behind uptime metrics ? This article throws some light on what you need to look out for when signing cloud contracts. You may end up needing to make a lot of changes to the contract and add the clauses that you need to ensure better performance and manage migration risks.

Cloud SLAs are failing enterprises, Claranet says

(link to original post at the end of this article)

Cloud service providers are making availability and uptime the core metrics upon which services are evaluated. But SLAs that focus overwhelmingly on availability and uptime often fail to include performance objectives that capture the dynamic nature of the relationship between cloud vendors and customers, or what enterprises are really looking for from their service providers, according to Paul Marland, director of account management at Claranet.

Marland said the vast majority of SLAs don’t really capture the core of what’s important to customers – or fall short of guaranteeing what customers really need and expect, beyond uptime and availability.

“That a provider is meeting the levels of uptime specified by their SLA will be of little solace to the CEO or FD who can’t access their emails fast enough, or the online retailer missing out on sales because of slow page-loads,” Marland said.

“These performance-based issues have proven to be something of a bugbear for the service provider industry; a grey area that falls beyond the remit of the traditional SLA, but remains key to the overall customer experience,” he said.

This isn’t the first time cloud service providers have been called out for making their SLAs too simplistic. A report published earlier this year which includes survey responses from over 740 senior IT professionals globally suggests that the majority of IT professionals believe typical service level agreements (SLAs) built around availability and performance fail to address the risks of moving and managing applications in the cloud.

Nearly four in five survey respondents (79 per cent) believed their SLAs were “too simplistic” and didn’t capture well-known issues such like the ‘noisy neighbour’ problem (interference and variable performance lag on shared infrastructure) which can be detrimental to traditional enterprise apps that were not designed to scale or fail horizontally.

“The problem is that a standard SLA does not reflect the true dynamic nature of the relationship that now prevails between customer and cloud provider. The SLA is a traditional foundation for the contract, but it should not be used as the basis of how we work together,” Marland explained.

“An SLA is a good baseline contractual agreement but, as the relationship evolves, so too must the level of ‘measurable’ engagement to suit the performance and optimisation criteria of each customer. MSPs need to look at those things that are actually meaningful to businesses– in essence, bringing end user performance objectives into the agreement,” he concluded.

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