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Re: Limits of reliability or is 99.999999999% realistic

  • From: mdevney
  • Date: Mon Nov 27 15:29:38 2000


In a perfect world, your provider says the service is always on, the
service is always on.  In the real world, we have to deal with outages --
some kids vandalise a phone box, new tech trips over some cables, some
idiot telco misimplements MPLS and brings your service down for a day....

These things happen, and sometimes we all just have to suck it down and
deal with it.  But if it happens continuously, you have to ask your
provider for some assurance that it won't keep happening.  This is what
SLAs are for.

In my experience, a company that delivers reasonable levels of service has
no need for SLAs with their clients.  The service is up, everybody is
happy.  SLAs are like your parent telling you to do the dishes again "and
get it right this time, or else you go to bed with no jell-o!"

Which s why, in looking for a vendor, I ask for an SLA.  If they have one
as a standard offering, then I know that they've messed up a lot in the
past, and will probably be messing up more than I like in the
future.  It's like the kid who never did his homework coming up to the
teacher on the last day of school asking for extra credit.  NO YOU
FOOL!  You should have done it right the last 180 days!

Anyway, just my thoughts.

On Mon, 27 Nov 2000 [email protected] wrote:

> Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 10:14:43 +0000
> From: [email protected]
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Limits of reliability or is 99.999999999% realistic
> SLAs are the point where commercial & operational worlds collide. The numbers
> being offered should:
> Reflect the targeted quality of the service
> Tie in with meaningful damages for not achieving them
> In a market where I can offer 99.7% or 100% and the difference is a whole day's
> service credit, I know what I'd be offering. No question.
> If on the other hand, the expectation is that I pay out a year's contract value
> in cash upfront every time I miss a target in a month, then I'd only want to
> offer a target that will *always* be achieved.
> In the market at the moment, the situation is much closer to the first scenario
> than the second - ie damages for SLAs do not mean anything to either:
> the buyer, as compensation for not receiving the service that they have
> contracted for;
> or
> the seller as a motivation to work within the targets, because capped service
> credit agreements do not touch the bottom line
> Today, in the IP market, it is irrelevant whether services come with 99.0 or
> 99.99999 SLAs & at some point the market needs to address the responsibility
> that if they are to offer a service of a certain "guaranteed" quality, then they
> should stand-by that guarantee with their money and give this guarantee meaning.
> I don't think this is the case at the moment, and that's why we even see 100%
> SLA in the market - because the level of pay-outs on SLAs don't matter to the
> seller.
> No. I'm not suggesting that sellers offer guarantees for consequential losses.
> Simply ones that:
> 1. give the buyer the peace of mind that if the service they've contracted to is
> below par, that they will have enough money put back in their pocket for them to
> have replaced their service, like-for-like in the market, to cover themselves
> over the period.
> 2. enable the market players to truly differentiate their service offerings by
> quality, rather than marketing.
> Toby
> [std. disclaimer of responsiblity here]
> Date: 25 Nov 2000 20:24:48 -0800
> From: Sean Donelan <[email protected]>
> Subject: Limits of reliability or is 99.999999999% realistic
> <snipped for brevity>
> But back to my question.  What is the real requirement?  Amazon.COM had
> system problems on Friday, and their site was unusuable for 30 minutes,
> definitely not 99.999%.  But what did that really mean?  The FAA loses
> its radar for several hours in various parts of the country.  What did
> that really mean?  Essentially every system given as an example of "high-
> availability, high-reliability" I've looked at, doesn't hold up under
> close examination.
> Is 99.999% just F.U.D. created by consultants?
> Instead of pretending we can build systems which will never fail, should
> we work on a realistic understanding of what can be delivered?