Cloud Research: SLAs are Lacking


Compuware recently commissioned an independent survey of 740 senior IT professionals’ attitudes and concerns relating to cloud computing. The results revealed that businesses worry that the reduced visibility and control that accompanies their move to the cloud hampers their ability to deliver a high quality end-user experience with applications.

The study shows that the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) offered by cloud providers are failing to address the needs of their customers, as they are too simplistic. Added to this companies fear that infrastructure and platform-level problems are being hidden behind hollow guarantees, with little incentive for cloud providers to give any greater levels of transparency. Vanity SLAs provide a false sense of security and do not capture the true customer and end user requirements that properly mitigate business risks with cloud infrastructure.

There are further reservations relating to ‘noisy neighbors’ in shared environments, which can potentially monopolize shared resources and significantly impact the consistency of performance on business critical applications. This problem is particularly prevalent due to the traditional design of enterprise applications, which were never designed to horizontally scale on demand.

Exacerbating these risks, the visibility and control that businesses previously had over the IT stack has been severely diminished by the move to the cloud; many legacy tools for application optimization just don’t work in cloud infrastructure. Throw in the impact of new third parties, like CDN or API providers, and the troubleshooting process has now become much more difficult, resulting in prolonged mean time to resolution, and at worst undermine competiveness in the market.

Yet help is at hand: by taking a best practice approach to managing performance in the cloud, business can minimize risk while still delivering on the promise of the high performance, on-demand IT provisioning that the cloud can provide.

Key highlights from this study include:

• 73% of companies are concerned that cloud service providers are hiding problems at an infrastructure or platform level that impact the performance of their applications
• 79% of companies believe that the typical SLAs offered by cloud service providers are too simplistic
• 75% of companies are concerned that a lack of control will prevent them from fully optimizing the end-user experience and ROI of applications in the cloud
• 62% of companies find it harder to troubleshoot problems in the cloud; of those, 87% say that this results in increased mean time to resolution


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