Define your cloud expectations – learn the important aspects of every cloud SLA

Posted by: Dragan Grujic September 02, 2020

Category: Topic: Cloud Management

Your cloud journey is about to start – how exciting! The cloud experts of your choice helped you select the optimal vendor and mapped out a strategy for you to embrace the cloud journey in an optimal way. In the meantime, there is one very important aspect for you to study and define – one which tackles every element on the cloud: The SLA (Service Level Agreement).

Much like any business contract, SLA serves to outline what the client can expect from a service provider. If you’ve chosen to transform your business with the help of a company specialized in cloud computing, you will have two kinds of service providers: the vendor such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, and the team which will make sure the implementation, management, and optimization of your resources in the cloud run seamlessly.

Sounds overwhelming? It can be, especially if you’re not fully aware of the main aspects your SLAs need to cover. Keep reading.

Define the criteria based on your priorities

Since you’ve opted for cloud solutions, you are aware there is a full spectrum of benefits awaiting the right implementation and usage. Ergo, your SLA should cover all distinguished features which made you choose this technology in the first place. Namely:

Of course, not every service will be equally critical for your business. You might be losing serious money every time your availability fails. Those handling sensitive user data will definitely prioritize this aspect.

… and don’t forget the outage

Whichever your priority may be, make sure to consult your IT staff and have them include all the expected outage scenarios in the SLA. Even giants like Amazon or Microsoft can occasionally experience such unfortunate events; so, when brainstorming the optimal SLA with your team, navigate towards the prevention management. Don’t hesitate to consult the company you choose for your cloud migration and optimization: they should inform you about different strategies to boost resilience while elaborating on the potential cost increase for such actions.

Keep the shared responsibility in mind

While your expectations of the cloud provider are rightfully high, you shouldn’t forget that you’re in this together. Every major cloud platform draws a clear line between your share of responsibilities towards the resources in the cloud, and theirs.
This is defined by the type of cloud deployment you choose (IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS) and is usually similar if not the same with all of the big players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

cloud SLA
The AWS security shared responsibility model, source: AWS

Microsoft clearly states: Regardless of the type of deployment, the following responsibilities are always retained by you: Data, Endpoints, Account, Access management.
To paint a picture, say you are an Azure cloud computing user, and you’re running a SQL and an app on a simple Azure VM. In that case, the computing power with all its associated components is a responsibility of Microsoft, while the SQL server and everything else on the machine are yours. On the other hand, if you opt to go with some of the Azure SQL database services, then only the data is yours, everything else relies on Microsoft’s skillful engineers.

Study these obligations thoroughly, so that there are no surprises. Should you choose to look for help from a cloud service provider, all the responsibilities should be included, in detail, in the SLA.

Don’t forget the exit strategy

Thinking about worst-case scenarios is a must for every SLA, including the one determining the quality of service for the cloud. Apart from service-interrupting situations like an outage, you also need to give a serious thought about potential unsatisfying service situations or changes which may lead to ending a contract with your cloud vendor and/or service provider. Bearing that in mind, you should consult your IT team (but also the service provider you’re about to start cooperating with) about building a step-by-step cloud exit strategy that will ensure a professional and smooth transition, whichever it may be.

Still feel like you need more info on what to expect from professional cloud services? Drop us a line, we would like to chat!

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