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

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

Summary: 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:

Topic: CXO

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  • And when a Backbone Provider goes down?

    What good will 5 nines do you then? Putting enterprise, mission critical apps in the hands of an offsite vendor is a gamble. Even productivity apps - imagine no one in your company able to use Word or Excel (or another similar app) for an entire day. That adds up to a lot of lost productivty, which equals lost money.
  • The five-nines scam

    A friend of mine says that the IT industry is just a bunch of terminally-ill patients being chased by snake-oil doctors promising miracle cures. This is more of the same. Everyone wants 100% uptime, but promising 5-nines with only a 10% rebate, while using technology that can't even reach 3-nines successfully (witness last year's daylong outages at Amazon and AppLogic services at Layered Tech) is just fooling the customers.

    What 3Tera and Amazon are offering is a 10% cost reduction to customers, not guaranteed uptime.

    I love cloud recommend it to clients all the time, but cloud will get a bad name if this "nine-upsmanship" continues - and that won't serve anyone.
  • Fear, uncertainty, and downtime

    There's a lot of debate about nines of performance, but how much do you really need? The first poster talked about daylong outages from a backbone provider going out. We haven't seen internet outages like that in quite a while. Instead, cloud providers occasionally have a few minutes our hours of downtime at most. This comes to around 3-nines a year in most cases. But how does this compare to what the poster was talking about, which was relying on your own PC? From my experience with my own PC, doing my own support, as well as with the PC I had when I worked at HP, I was down a lot more than that each year. 5-nines is great, but for the desktop, 3-nines suffices. It's what we're all used to getting.

    -Eric Novikoff
  • RE: The race to 99.999 percent uptime: 3Tera ups the cloud SLA ante

    The race to provide 5-nines was won a long time ago. Stratus Technologies has been providing continuous availability to many of the most mission critical applications around the globe for nearly 3 decades now. Whether it?s stand alone, virtualized or ?in the cloud?, providing less than 32 seconds of unplanned downtime a year requires a purpose built architecture, and one that eliminates downtime instead of trying to ?minimize? it, an architecture that does not lose ?in flight data? or data that is stored in memory (especially with the large amounts of memory in today?s servers) and a solution backed by a services infrastructure that understands what REAL mission critical support is all about.
  • RE: The race to 99.999 percent uptime: 3Tera ups the cloud SLA ante

    Five nines is not the point. Mosso Cloud Sites say their SLA is 100% however, it's not even a close second to 3Tera's SLA. Why, because the main points are that 3Tera automatically calculate the outage for the customer and that they apply the credit as a refund and not a credit for future services.

    • Automatic SLA verification

      I concur with you, John. The customer should not be responsible for validating a vendor's SLA. Here at ENKI we've been automating SLA verifications at the infrastructure and application level for while and it is a great builder of trust between vendor and customer. Commendations to 3Tera are in order for automating the SLA verification!
  • RE: The race to 99.999 percent uptime: 3Tera ups the cloud SLA ante

    What really matters to business is application availability. If you find another business app in the cloud backing up your primary cloud application, you are covered. For example, if you use for your 24/7 support, you can us Hubcase Standby for your call center to log cases when Salesforce cloud is down.