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A Clear SLA Now Can Save a Lot of Headaches Later

It's just smart business

If you're like a lot of IT pros, you probably are tired of arguing with business units about service issues. The beauty of the private cloud approach is it lets you run IT like an external business. That means you set up a service-level agreement (SLA) with your business units just like any vendor in the public cloud, setting expectations and outlining responsibilities.

What this approach does is provide a process for defining the interface between IT and the business units in your company. The SLA should include several key components:

  • It lists the components necessary for a given service to operate.
  • It provides a service guarantee based on all of those pieces operating.
  • It outlines the consequences for failing to meet the service guarantee.

From an IT perspective, you know that a given service requires certain components to operate. Since they are all interdependent, you also know the service is toast if one goes down. Therefore, the service-level agreement should list all of the required components with the understanding they all need to be operating.

From a business user's point of view, it's no different than buying a service outside of the company. If you buy storage on Amazon.com, you can expect to pay a certain amount per megabyte, and you can expect that you will get a certain level of uptime. You also know what will happen if the service goes down and you can't access it.

Some may look at this approach and think it's silly to operate this way in-house, but it's like any business deal. Everyone in the company needs to look at your cloud business services for what they are: a transaction-based service. If you set up an SLA with the terms of the agreement, you are setting up clear guidelines and expectations for both parties.

It's just smart business.

More Stories By Benjamin Grubin

Benjamin Grubin is a 15-year veteran of the technology industry with experience in security, software engineering, marketing, consulting and management. He is the Director of Product Management & Marketing for Cloud Technology Partners, overseeing products that accelerate cloud development and migration. Mr. Grubin has worked with Fortune 100 companies to modernize their infrastructure and support next-generation management and security technologies. He is also a frequent presenter at conferences, seminars and panels on topics including cloud computing, IT service management, virtualization, and IT security.

Mr. Grubin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School as well as both a Master of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Science in Economics and Computer Science from Tufts University. Follow Ben on Twitter at @bgrubin.

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