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The Dos and Don’ts of SLA Management | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #WebPerf #APM #Monitoring
SLAs can be very tricky to manage for a number of different reasons

The Dos and Don'ts of SLA Management
By Craig Lowell

The past few years have seen a huge increase in the amount of critical IT services that companies outsource to SaaS/IaaS/PaaS providers, be it security, storage, monitoring, or operations. Of course, along with any outsourcing to a service provider comes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that the vendor is held financially responsible for any lapses in their service which affect the customer’s end users, and ultimately, their bottom line.

SLAs can be very tricky to manage for a number of different reasons: discrepancies over the time period being addressed, the source of the performance metrics, and the accuracy of the data can lead to legal disputes between vendor and customer. However, there are several things that both sides can do to get accurate and verifiable performance data as it pertains to their SLAs.

The first and most critical step is to define the parameters around which the data will be used; this includes the method of data collection (often an agreed-upon neutral third party), and the time and locations from which the performance will be measured. The first part of this is critical. If the vendor and the customer are using different monitoring tools to measure the Service Level Indicators (SLIs), then there will inevitably be disagreements on the validity of the data and whether the Service Level Objective (SLO) was reached or not.

Selecting that vendor depends a great deal on the number of users being served, and where they are located. For a company such as Flashtalking, an ad serving, measuring, and technology company delivering ad impressions throughout the US, Europe, and other international markets, the need for a monitoring tool which can accurately measure the performance and user experience in many different areas around the world is critical to their SLA management efforts.

Flashtalking agrees upon the external monitoring tool with every one of their clients as part of their SLAs, using Catchpoint as the unbiased third party due to the number of monitoring locations and the accuracy of the data. Their customers obviously want the most accurate view of the customer experience and the impressions garnered, so monitoring from as close to the end user as possible is the best way to achieve that. In that sense, the more locations from which to test the product, the more accurate the data from an end user’s perspective.

Those measurement locations should include backbone and last mile, as well as any cloud provider from which the ads are being served. This diversity of locations ensures that they will still have visibility and reporting capabilities should the cloud provider itself experience an outage; the backbone tests eliminate noise and are therefore the cleanest for validating the SLO, and the last mile tests best replicate the end user experience./p>

Once the SLA and its parameters are agreed upon by both sides, each one of Flashtalking’s products is then set up with a single test that captures the performance of their clients’ ads through every stage of the IT architecture, whether it’s a single site, single server, or encompasses multiple databases/networks/etc.

Of course, establishing criteria and setting up the tests is only part of the SLA management battle. For a cloud provider to stay on top of its SLAs, they must also be able to rely on the alerting features to notify them if they are in danger of being in breach, as well as the accuracy and depth of the reporting to assist with identifying the root cause of the issue. In many cases, an ad serving company such as Flashtalking is relying on other third parties such as DNS resolvers, cloud providers, and content delivery networks to deliver the ads to the end users, which means that a disruption in service is not necessarily their fault. Still, they must be able to share their performance data with their own vendors in order to resolve the issue as quickly as possible for their own customers. In cases such as these, they must be able to easily separate their first- and third-party architecture components to show when a service disruption is not their fault and hold their own vendors accountable instead.

To learn more about SLA management and how both customers and vendors can ensure continuous service delivery, check out our SLA handbook.

The post The Dos and Don’ts of SLA Management appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog - Web Performance Monitoring.

Read the original blog entry...

About Mehdi Daoudi
Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.

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Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University, and is an O'Reilly author.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small businesses.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or personal computing needs.

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Digital Transformation Blogs
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from th...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.