Cloud SLAs to Mature

Let’s face it, up until now it seems that cloud providers haven’t been doing such a sterling job guaranteeing the fine print in service level agreements (SLAs) with their customers – given all the recent outages and downtime.

But that could all change with CA’s recent acquisition of Oblicore, the service level management innovator. Oblicore specializes in taking technical information about what’s going on in your IT environment and correlating it with the business-level information held in your SLAs. That business-level information is a way for companies to get an accurate view of what cloud and other service providers are truly delivering. Oblicore’s software is integrated with various third party tools that provide detailed input needed for comparison.

Not only will cloud providers’ ability to deliver the goods on SLAs further promote and solidify development of the cloud, but, according to Data Center Dialog, it will also allow IT executives to play a more strategic role in growing their businesses. At the Gartner Data Center Conference keynote address last December in Las Vegas, VPs Ronni Colville and Donna Scott offered this bit of advice: “Until you become a driver in the alignment with the business, you are not going to be critical to the business – nor to the CEO,” according to the blog. Said Scott: “You have to know what you have and what’s effective” in order to “figure out whether they are the appropriate investments.”

In the CA-Oblicore press release, Lisa Erickson-Harris, research director at analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), was quoted on the merger of technologies and had this to say:

“EMA believes cloud computing trends will further increase the demand for service-based management – including service level and service value management. Customers are demanding solutions like Oblicore that can offer business-oriented service management, including details related to the service contract, collaboration during the negotiation process, and analytics” on service delivery results in a dashboard format. Oblicore’s strengths are well-suited to bridge the IT/business gap by capitalizing on existing management data, business-driven service definition and analytics to demonstrate service delivery results at each service lifecycle phase.”

From my standpoint, it looks like companies who are cloud-bound are seeing past the hype and convenience factor and starting to get more serious about demanding guarantees of service and security. This is a trend I’ve been aware of for quite some time, and it’ll become more pronounced as more and more firms seek out third-party services to measure and audit SLAs.