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April 2012, Vol. 2 No. 2

Defining the right cloud SLA requirements up front

Cloud services are moving into the mainstream. They offer elastic IT infrastructure that can respond quickly to new demands, such as business growth or new projects. Cloud models also offer possible cost savings through pay-per-use approaches and economies of scale. But to save money with a cloud model, IT pros have to construct SLAs carefully. Businesses rely on service-level agreements (SLAs) to hold cloud providers accountable for services and to establish a set recourse if a service fails. SLAs specify, for example, the responsibilities of providers, such as the time frame in which a vendor should be able to address a problem and the reparations it should make if downtime occurs and a customer loses business. But, when it comes to cloud SLAs, the devil is in the details. Outlining the terms of customer reimbursement can be problematic, for example. Should customers be reimbursed for lost services, or is it sufficient for an SLA to stipulate a future credit? Not surprisingly, creating solid, realistic SLAs on which both ...

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