I honestly think a lot of people don't understand what an SLA is. An SLA is not a guarantee of availability. An SLA is a guarantee of financial compensation. That's it. A provider can have an SLA of 99% and be down for 1 hour every day of the month. Great, you'll get reimbursed, but your users will abandon you.

The only SLA that may be meaningful is a reimbursement of well over 100%. Now the provider has a real financial incentive.



Even worse, when folks agree to an SLA that is complete garbage e.g. “if the fault was with our cloud provider you get nothing”.

Damien L

Well, an SLA is also not specifically about availability. It's any service level agreement. It can be about any IT service and any metric. Time to respond to a request, time to solve a critical issue, time to recovery... The basic is that you agree to a level of service, and provider has to compensate if level is not met (could be a fixed penalty, a % of the financial loss of not having the business running, etc). It can't realistically be about guaranteeing the metric anyway, since it's not feasible, and yeah, the goal is ensuring your provider takes their fair share of operational risk, so it shouldn't be just about them not getting paid.


Damien, you're absolutely right. That was a silly generalization (aka, mistake) on my part. But in all of those cases, my point still stands, that it isn't about a guarantee to do X, it's a guarantee of what happens if X doesn't happen.

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