Making Your Cloud Computing SLA Air-Tight? Think Again.

Posted by Mark Teter, Chief Technology Officer
August 6, 2012

Brandon Butler’s blog, 5 Tips for Making Your Cloud SLA Air-Tight, at raises all good points—but that’s not your only concern when you consider cloud computing solutions… As a trivial example, what happens when the cloud goes offline? Most apps don’t get restarted automatically.

Licensing issues are among the most troubling. When does the customer pay - in advance and/or for what length of term? If a customer wants to terminate a contract before the term ends, what kinds of ‘lock-in’ or ‘still must pay’ clauses exist? Do contracts have to be terminated 'for cause' and if so how easy is it for the customer to prove a ‘cause’?

A couple of years ago, we posted 30 Questions to Ask Before Turning to the Cloud, and many of these questions are still important ones to ask.

-  What are you current costs for your IT infrastructure?

-  How much do you expect to save by going to the cloud?

-  Will you be able to customize your apps once they’re in the cloud?

-  How will you provide QoS to your clients once they start using external networks to get access to your apps?

-  Will your cloud computing solutions vendor provide you with load balancing or availability guarantees?

-  How much will it cost to import your data? How much will it cost to export your data?

-  Are you currently encrypting your data today? You will most likely need to when you move to the cloud.

-  Are you trying to avoid CapEx expenditures and move to an OpEx costing model, or just wanting an off-premise solution?

-  How are you planning on backing up your data once it’s in the cloud? Is that back to your datacenter? That will substantially cost you in terms of networking charges.

-  Is it important for your apps to be able to have compute elasticity? If not, what are the benefits of using that particular cloud provider?

-  What model are you most interesting in? IaaS, Paas, SaaS? What is the primary model for the cloud provider? Is it a PaaS solution built on someone else’s IaaS?

-  Has your IT staff been trained or experienced working with the cloud? With that particular cloud provider?

-  What are you expecting for RPO and RTO from your cloud provider?

-  Is your cloud computing solutions provider a private company or public? What are their annual revenues? How long has your cloud provider been in business?

-  Is your cloud provider providing you with SLAs that are currently better than what you have today?

-  How will you transfer you software licenses you currently own?

-  Will your apps be clustered in the cloud?

-  How will you manage your apps for performance and/or outages?

-  Will your cloud provider use an underlying Iaas for their own infrastructure? Or will they build their own infrastructure?

Cloud providers are generally not responsible for backing anything up either. Performance guarantees? There are none, only availability. Either way, you’re going to need new tools to monitor, manage and deploy cloud-based apps.

About Mark Teter Before he retired from ASG in 2013, Mark Teter was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the author of 'Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions.' As CTO, Mark regularly advised IT organizations, vendors, and government agencies, and he frequently conducted seminars and training programs.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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