The race to 99.999 percent uptime: 3Tera ups the cloud SLA ante

Those cloud computing service level agreements are getting better all the time and that's good news for enterprise customers. 3Tera, which offers cloud software and services, unveiled a 99.

Those cloud computing service level agreements are getting better all the time and that's good news for enterprise customers. 

3Tera, which offers cloud software and services, unveiled a 99.999 availability service level agreement for its AppLogic Virtual Private Datacenter service. 

In April, the 3Tera service, VPDC for short, will offer the five nines guarantee (statement). 3Tera isn't shy about noting that the SLA move is about giving "customers confidence and ensure that they can use the cloud to quickly deploy and operate even their most critical services."

Meanwhile, 3Tera says it'll apply SLA credits automatically without requiring documentation from customers. As for the credit schedule, 3Tera outlined the following:

3Tera VPDC customers will automatically receive SLA service credits for any calendar month where availability falls below the targeted 99.999 percent. If availability is anywhere between 99.999 percent and 99.9 percent, a 10 percent credit applies to the whole VPDC service for the entire month. If availability is lower than 99.9 percent, a 25 percent credit applies.

3Tera claims that its SLA is the first five nines version for the cloud. 

A quick review indicates that 3Tera is right. To wit:

Amazon Web Services has a 99.95 percent SLA. Amazon notes:

AWS will use commercially reasonable efforts to make Amazon EC2 available with an Annual Uptime Percentage of at least 99.95% during the Service Year. In the event Amazon EC2 does not meet the Annual Uptime Percentage commitment, you will be eligible to receive a Service Credit.

Further details are available on Amazon's SLA statement, but the credit schedule roughly equates to a 10 percent credit if that 99.95 percent threshold is breached. 

Rackspace's Mosso cloud unit has a 99.9 percent SLA for its cloud files for storage. Rackspace's cloud division recently rolled out three services--Cloud Sites, Cloud Files and Cloud Servers. Rackspace, which started out as a traditional hosting company, has made a big bet on cloud services--even though it may cannibalize its existing business. Emil Sayegh, Mosso's general manager, said in a recent briefing that "anyone starting a new project will start in the cloud." 

Ultimately all cloud players will offer SLAs at five nines or approaching that target. And the faster cloud providers offer those SLAs the quicker enterprises will move more mission critical functions to the cloud.

More reading on the subject:

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