Connectivity and Service Level Agreements
Cloud viability depends on reliable and fast connectivity. Establishing the level of connectivity has already been covered but what about reliability? The reliability of the cloud service is part of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the customer and the cloud service provider. But there is a challenge when the SLA is breached. Is it the network? The connection between the client and the cloud provider? A lack of bandwidth? Apportioning fault takes time?
Cloud providers who own their own infrastructure can negotiate both their connectivity to the Internet and the connectivity between their cloud and customers. This underpins the cloud providers enterprise-level SLA with the customer. With end-to-end control the cloud provider is able to track, identify and then rectify faults.
An effective SLA requires many things; the two biggest components are adequate management and monitoring tools allied to a fault-tolerant infrastructure. These depend on the right hardware, software, choice of multiple carrier partners and data centre provider.
A key challenge of any SLA is definition:
- What does uptime mean?
- What metrics are used to assess the SLA?
Once the language has been agreed, there are other questions that often get asked such as:
- How are uptime and metrics measured and by whom – customer or cloud owner?
- What auditing is carried out of the cloud environment and by whom?
- Is 24/7 support available from a person rather than an automated fault system?
All of these should be covered by the SLA and be agreed by both customer and cloud provider.
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