Practical Guide to Cloud Service Level Agreements

Meegan, J; Singh, G; Woodward, S; Venticinque, Salvatore; Rak, M; Harris, D; Murray, G; Martino, B Di; Roux, Y Le; McDonald, J; Kean, R; Edwards, M; Russell, D; Malekkos, G
This document is an extension of the Practical Guide to Cloud Computing white paper that was delivered by the Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC) in October, 2011. The aim of this guide is to provide a practical reference to help enterprise information technology (IT) and business decision makers as they analyze and consider service level agreements (SLA) from different cloud service providers. The paper will give guidance to decision makers on what to expect and what to be aware of as they evaluate SLAs from their cloud computing providers. A checklist of key criteria for evaluating and comparing SLAs from different providers will be included. Additionally, this paper will highlight the role that standards play to improve interoperability and comparability across different cloud providers, and identify areas where future standardization could be effective. SLAs are important to clearly set expectations for service between the cloud consumer (buyer) and the cloud provider (seller). Each cloud entity engaged by the enterprise should have a cloud SLA defined, including: cloud provider, cloud carrier, cloud broker and even cloud auditor. Consideration must also be given to the different models of service delivery: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS)) as each model brings different requirements. This paper focuses primarily on the SLA details between the cloud consumer and cloud provider, and focuses on the requirements that are common across the various service models (emphasis is given to the IaaS service model since SLAs are more advanced in this area). The Practical Guide to Cloud Service Level Agreements contains a set of guidelines and strategies to help decision makers in all major activities related to cloud SLAs. The section entitled “Current SLA Landscape” explains the dynamics that currently exists between consumers and providers in the SLA space and the impact that company size has on the power to negotiate terms. This section also highlights the nuances of SLA development for different service models. The section entitled “Guide for Evaluating Cloud Service Levels Agreements” is the heart of the guide. It provides a prescriptive series of steps that cloud consumers should take to evaluate cloud SLAs with the goal of comparing cloud service providers or negotiating terms with a provider. It provides guidance for the business and service level objectives of the SLA, highlighting what to be aware of and how to compare service levels across different cloud providers. This section takes into account the realities of today’s cloud computing ecosystem and postulates how it is likely evolve in the future, including the important role that standards will play to improve interoperability and consistency across providers.
Type of Publication:
Cloud Computing; Service Level Agreement
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