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30 Nov 2023

The Power of SLA: Providing Real Uptime for Your Network

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Sharon Duchin
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Table of Contents

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) have unparalleled influence in the realm of network management, serving as the basis of reliability and performance assurance. By carefully defining the terms, expectations, and guarantees between service providers and consumers, SLAs act as a cornerstone, ensuring real-time uptime for your network. 

Beyond the conventional wisdom of specifying availability percentages, a sensible approach to SLAs is proactive and anticipatory. It involves considering new technologies and innovative solutions like predictive maintenance, AI-driven anomaly detection, and agile network design. In other words, SLAs aren’t simply contractual obligations but rather strategic instruments, where precision is critical. Mistakes in crafting SLAs can erode trust, hence the importance of accuracy and thoroughness. Ultimately, the power of SLA lies in its ability to transform the network from a mere utility into a strategic asset. A strong SLA guarantees uninterrupted connectivity in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

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Uptime vs. Downtime

Uptime refers to the period during which a system, service, or equipment is fully operational and available for use. It is typically expressed as a percentage of the total time within a given period. Naturally, high uptime is desirable because it makes sure that a service or system is consistently available to users. This is especially critical for businesses that rely on continuous operations, such as e-commerce websites, data centers, and manufacturing facilities.

Downtime can occur due to various reasons, leading to disruptions and potential losses for businesses. The leading causes of downtime can be broadly categorized into two main areas: planned and unplanned downtime.

Planned downtime is typically scheduled in advance for system maintenance, upgrades, or other necessary activities. While it is expected and can be managed, it still impacts the overall uptime of a system. Organizations often try to minimize the impact of planned downtime by scheduling it during off-peak hours or implementing redundant systems to provide continuous service availability.

Unplanned downtime, on the other hand, is the more concerning type of downtime. It occurs unexpectedly and can be caused by hardware failures, software glitches, power outages, network issues, cyber attacks, or natural disasters. Unplanned downtime can have severe consequences, including financial losses, reputational damage, and customer dissatisfaction.

To measure the reliability of a system, uptime percentages are commonly used. This represents the ratio of uptime to total time (uptime + downtime) over a specific period. For example, if a system has an uptime of 99.9% in a month, it means that it was operational for 99.9% of the total time, with only 0.1% experiencing downtime. Calculating SLA uptime percentage helps organizations assess the performance and reliability of their systems. It also allows them to set benchmarks and goals for improving uptime and minimizing downtime. Achieving high uptime percentages requires implementing robust infrastructure, redundancy measures, proactive monitoring, and efficient incident response strategies.

What is an SLA?

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a formal, written contract or agreement between two parties that outlines the specific terms, conditions, and expectations regarding the delivery of a service. SLAs are commonly used in various industries, including technology, telecommunications, and outsourcing, to make sure service providers meet the agreed-upon standards and performance levels. They serve as a crucial tool for managing expectations and maintaining a high level of service quality.

You need an SLA for several reasons. Firstly, it sets clear expectations and standards for the service you are receiving, so you and the service provider are on the same page regarding what is expected. Secondly, SLAs provide a mechanism for accountability. If the service provider fails to meet the agreed-upon standards, the SLA may specify penalties or remedies, protecting your interests. Additionally, SLAs help in monitoring and measuring the performance of the service over time, allowing for continuous improvement.

SLAs can be provided by various entities, depending on the context. In the business world, they are often established between a customer and a service provider, such as a software company, a cloud service provider, or a managed service provider. Government agencies may also use SLAs with contractors for public services. The key is that the SLA clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of each party involved.

Core components of an SLA typically include:

  • Service Description: A detailed description of the service being provided.
  • Service Levels: Specific, measurable performance metrics, such as response time, uptime, or resolution time.
  • Responsibilities: Clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities of all parties.
  • Performance Monitoring: Methods and tools used to measure and track service performance.
  • Dispute Resolution: Procedures for resolving disputes or conflicts.
  • Penalties and Remedies: Consequences for failing to meet the agreed-upon service levels.
  • Termination Clause: Conditions under which the SLA can be canceled.

Best Practices for Protecting SLA Uptime

To ensure high uptime and meet Service Level Agreements, it’s essential to follow best practices that align with your specific needs and priorities. Here are some proactive strategies:

Partner with a Reliable Provider: Collaborate with a trusted service provider who has a proven track record of uptime and reliability. Evaluate their infrastructure, redundancy measures, and disaster recovery capabilities. Consider diversifying providers for critical services to mitigate single points of failure.

Review and Update SLAs Regularly: SLAs should be living documents that evolve with your business and technology landscape. Regularly review and update SLAs to reflect changing requirements, performance expectations, and compliance standards so that all stakeholders are aligned.

Use Advanced Monitoring Tools: Implement advanced monitoring and alerting systems that provide real-time insights into your infrastructure’s health. These tools can help you proactively detect and address issues before they impact uptime. Consider utilizing AI-driven analytics to predict potential failures.

Establish Clear Incident Management Process: Develop a well-defined incident management process that outlines roles, responsibilities, and escalation procedures. When issues arise, a clear and efficient response plan can minimize downtime and service disruption. Test this process through simulations to validate readiness.

By adhering to these best practices, you can enhance your organization’s ability to maintain high SLA uptime, anticipate potential issues, and react swiftly when incidents occur. Regularly reviewing and improving these practices will contribute to a more robust and resilient service environment.

Maximize Your Network Uptime with Teridion

Teridion is transforming network services through its cloud-optimized AI-powered routing technology, which surpasses traditional SD-WAN and MPLS solutions. Our innovative technology enables businesses to enjoy enhanced speeds, improved reliability, and scalability, all while maximizing uptime. With a customer-centric approach, Teridion offers customized SLAs to meet specific requirements and demands, ensuring a tailored experience for each client. 

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Picture of Sharon Duchin
Sharon Duchin

Head of Marketing

Sharon Duchin is the Head of Marketing at Terdion. Prior to joining Teridion she was the CMO of several startups, as well as a Business Unit Manager at Keter Plastic and a Marketing Manager at General Mills USA. Sharon Holds an MBA from Chicago Booth and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Economics from the Hebrew University.
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