Service Level Agreements (SLA) can be a pain to read, what with the legalese and jargon involved. However, when things don’t go as expected in your cloud environment, the SLA is the main document you turn to. That makes it a critical factor when choosing the right cloud service provider for your business
As such, here are five things you’ll want to be most clear about in your SLA:
1. Understand Service Availability
Every CSP offers an uptime guarantee, usually 99.995 to 99.999% of the time. The question is, how does the CSP apply this number?
For example, does the 99.9% guaranteed uptime apply to monthly or annually? If monthly, that translates to some 4.7 minutes a month.
But what about annually? That’s about 8 hours, scattered throughout 12 months! Suppose the service goes down for an hour or more in a week—can your system take that long a downtime?
Therefore, you’ll want to clarify your service availability in detail. You’ll also want to determine if the availability guarantee applies to all services, as different services may have different uptime guarantees.
2. Determine what Constitutes Downtime
This is critical because your definition of downtime may not match your cloud provider’s. For example, system upgrades and patch application may be excluded from the count. Similarly, any service interruption resulting of your own activities would be excluded as well.
You will also want to be very clear as to where and when the uptime guarantee applies. For instance, does it apply to individual services, such as compute, SMS, storage, etc., or does it apply to the connection to the CSP? Also, does the uptime guarantee apply 24/7, or only on certain hours and certain days of the week?
On that note, be clear on the compensation you will get for downtime, such as credits.
3. Determine Responsibilities
When entering a partnership with a service provider, remember that you will be working together to create an ideal environment. You need to consider your service provider as part of your IT team.
As such, you must think about how the SLA clearly states the limits of the CSP’s responsibilities, and where your responsibilities begin. The safety and security of the cloud infrastructure, for example, depends on the CSP, but the security within the cloud space depends on your organization. It’s vital that all parties have a clear understanding of these points.
4. Verify Disaster Recovery System
Pay special attention to how the CSP will be able to mitigate and recover from disasters. What is their environment like? Do they contingencies and redundancies in place? How quickly can they bring your data back online?
The more experience the cloud provider has in managing a data center and virtualized environments, the better performance and response the customer will receive. Be wary if a provider is less than forthcoming about their system and data center.
5. Logging and Reporting
Finally, determine how your CSP will track and log activities as they happen in the cloud. You cannot overestimate the importance of monitoring for both troubleshooting and audits.
How well does your CSP log activities? Do they provide an up-to-date report for you to view online? Will you regularly receive reports based on your critical logs? Will they also provide backups of all your configurations?
Thinking of a migrating to the cloud, but need help choosing the right CSP? Talk to our expert cloud consultants at PolarSeven today.