Managing SLAs for your cloud services

With written contribution by Andrew Wahl

 

One of the most significant effects that the cloud has had on IT is the agility it offers to cost-effectively meet business users’ wide range of performance and availability requirements. Drawing upon external public cloud services provides much greater flexibility in how IT meets those requirements compared to relying solely on in-house data center resources.

 

By becoming a broker of cloud services, the IT organization must be in a position to assess whether its roster of cloud service providers can offer the kind of performance and availability standards its business needs—and that in fact, they can actually achieve those operational standards.

 

Reading the fine print

That’s why an important part of IT organizations embracing their role as cloud service broker is to have mechanisms in place that help manage the many Service Level Agreements (SLAs) of multiple cloud service providers for a range of cloud services. This wide variety of contractual terms and conditions of cloud services needs to be carefully examined and then closely monitored.

 

One of the signs that the cloud market is maturing is the growing demand for more stringent SLAs, and a move to hold cloud service providers to them. It’s not always easy to rely on public cloud service performance guarantees. It’s important to evaluate whether a service provider can actually deliver on their own SLAs, and what are the penalties if they don’t.

 

In some cases, cloud service provider SLAs require applications to meet certain standards in order to compensate for potential deficiencies in network infrastructure.

 

Managing cloud performance

IT organizations’ assessments of public cloud SLAs can guide how those services are used as building blocks in architecting services for the business. For example, if a business unit requires consistent, ultra-fast read-write performance and a public cloud service’s SLA provides insufficient performance guarantees, you may need to augment it with other services for a more complete cloud architecture.

 

As a cloud service broker, IT has to be confident enough about performance, availability and other aspects of SLAs that it can promise certain service levels to its users—and if necessary, architect their own hybrid services that can guarantee them. Monitoring the actual operational performance of cloud services is the only way to ensure that SLAs are worth more than the paper they’re printed on.

 

Learn more

HP’s comprehensive IT Operations Management of tools provide performance monitoring tools to ensure public cloud services meet SLA guarantees. Find out how HP Cloud management provides support for application, platform and infrastructure services with cloud brokering and heterogeneous environments for a flexible foundation for hybrid clouds today and in the future. Visit www.hp.com/go/cloudmanagement

 

Alternatively, you can also join us at HP Discover Barcelona in Spain. See for yourself HP Cloud Management in action at the demo booths and learn more from the various breakout sessions there. For more information, click on the banner.

 

 

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of thought leadership blog posts on the seven things you need to know about becoming a successful cloud services broker. To catch up on the series, be sure to read these posts:

1. Your cloud transformation starts here: How to develop a strategic plan

2. Building on a foundation of automation

3. How to decide what cloud services to offer

 

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