Given the growing concerns about a new XML performance crisis that Joe discusses in a prior post, it's worth noting that some of the most impressive new entrants in the Web services field such as Amazon and eBay are playing without service guarantees.
In a recent piece at Loosely Coupled, David Longworth notes that the absence of such guarantees isn't holding back new developments and innovations. However, the threat of service, performance or even security problems could deal a serious blow to some innovative new firms that are counting on continual service.
Jeff Barr, program manager for Amazon Web Services,offers no apologies for not providing service level agreements (SLAs): "We have not found it necessary to offer any kind of formal guarantee in this regard. What works best is to realize that our interests are aligned with the interests of our developers if the service is not running then their sites are not running, and no transactions are occurring. Clearly, this is bad, and we do all that we can to make sure that it doesn't happen."
Amazon depends on developers to ensure the rules and policies are followed through self-regulation. But others believe this "laissez faire" approach is unsustainable. "They will need to provide SLAs to retailers on their merchant network," says David Butler, VP of Marketing of Systinet. "Unless they find a way to organize their services and enforce their rules and policies,the take-up of their service platforms will not happen on a mass commodity basis.
What retailers want is security and reliability."