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Cloud SLAs Add New Level Of 'Confidence'

OpSource has launched an aggressive service level agreement (SLA) for its cloud infrastructure offerings, a necessary move as the cloud evolves beyond the early adopter stage.

infrastructure service level agreement

Santa Clara, Calif.-based OpSource said the new SLA is raising the bar and is a step toward mainstream cloud adoption. The launch of the SLA comes as the OpSource Cloud officially comes out of public beta and is available for purchase in hourly increments. It also comes just weeks after OpSource unveiled its official channel partner program.

Richard Dym, OpSource CMO, said that OpSource Cloud's SLA covers three areas on cloud users' mind: reliability, performance and support responsiveness.

"In order for the cloud to move beyond the early adopter stage ... it has to move its way across the chasm," Dym said. "In order to do that you need an SLA and you need to build confidence in the enterprise world."

With the new SLA, OpSource guarantees 100 percent availability of the OpSource Cloud Network of border routers, firewalls, load balancers and switches; it guarantees 100 percent availability of individual servers within the OpSource Cloud environment; and it guarantees latency of less than one millisecond for the transfer of data packets form one server to another within the OpSource cloud environment and within the same network or VLAN. The less than one millisecond of latency bests OpSource's competitors. Amazon, for example, is estimated to have roughly 50 milliseconds of latency in its cloud offerings.

And on the customer support side, OpSource's new SLA guarantees support personnel will review and update any case submitted via the OpSource Community within 30 minutes for emergencies and within 120 minutes for all others. An emergency case is defined as any case where a server is down or unavailable. Additionally, OpSource offers live support 24x7.

If the SLA is broken and the OpSource cloud does experience downtime, OpSource has a system in place to credit customers affected, Dym said.

"If we don't deliver our customers are credited based on the severity and extent of the incident," he said.

OpSource's offerings take components from both public clouds and private clouds and ties them together, offering the ability to buy online, pay-per-use, APIs and community while augmenting it with security and control. OpSource Cloud uses a virtual private cloud in the public cloud that lets users determine their own levels of security.

The addition of aggressive SLAs has the potential to alter business decisions regarding the cloud, as many potential cloud users question cloud computing's reliability and are therefore hesitant to make the leap. And as many cloud providers suffer highly-publicized cloud outages, the need for well-defined SLAs becomes that much stronger.

"Despite accelerating adoption of cloud services, many IT and business decision-makers are still reluctant to migrate their operations to providers who are unable to make specific commitments regarding the quality and reliability of their services," said Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, a cloud computing and SaaS consulting firm.

OpSource confirmed the need for SLAs. In a recent survey of OpSource Cloud customers, 74 percent said that a 100 percent uptime SLA was extremely important to their purchase decision-making.

SLAs have become a make or break for cloud providers as all try to ensure their service won't conk out. Cloud infrastructure vendor GoGrid, for example, offers a high-availability SLA, dubbed "10,000% guaranteed," that promises server uptime, persistent storage, network performance, cloud storage, server reboot, support response time, domain name services, physical security and 24x7 engineering support. Others like Amazon, Google, HP and IBM also offer various SLAs for their respective cloud offerings.

Dym said the launch of OpSource's SLA will likely inspire the competition to follow suit as customers demand reliability and accountability.

"If we're going to see real applications run in production environments, this kind of SLA is critical," Dym said.

And for the channel, the guarantee of uptime sends a strong message to prospects.

"For our partners, they can go to their prospects and point to this. This makes them a better choice," Dym said. "It's going to help the channel deliver and it's going to remove any major objections to the cloud."

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