As business organizations opt for support from the cloud to provision Software, Platform, or Infrastructure services the need for warranty through the service value chain becomes paramount. Service warranty is gained by achieving specified levels of availability, capacity, continuity, and security.
The dynamic, nature of the business and varied demand from multiple customers and user profiles must be considered when defining and investing in cloud architectures. Each customer will expect that only their application or service will be delivered to users when in fact multiple customer and user communities could be leverage from the scalability and shared resources in the cloud.
Availability/Capacity and the Cloud
Service providers must gain assurance that multiple instances of the same application are delivered in a scalable manner. In order to ensure availability and leverage capacity on demand additional tools and technologies such as load balancing, server virtualization, application delivery controllers and more will be necessary to integrate deep into the infrastructure, back end systems and network. All of this is disguised or invisible to the customer as the “Cloud”. Considerations from the business side will have to ensure that the transition of any new or changed services are enabled via a combination of both internal and external services. Therefore; designing, delivering and managing the end to end service delivery through the value chain still needs to be addressed.
Service Level Management and the Cloud
The Service Level agreements will only deliver if underpinning contracts for cloud services support business and customer requirements. With cloud computing the responsibility and integration points shift. Internal sourcing shifts to the cloud provider. Metrics for scalability, availability and security will require monitoring and reporting on caching, compression, rate shaping and other cloud unique elements in order to ensure availability and Service Level Requirements. Inaccurate or incomplete contracts with the cloud provider could jeopardize the cost savings, business benefit and value that is expected from the cloud.
Cloudy days ahead
The flight to the cloud continues to evolve as an advantageous means of sourcing. When managed correctly cloud services can increase the cadence and velocity of service delivery to meet dynamic business demand. Even though cloud computing in all its variants is still evolving, unified Service Level Agreements and Underpinning Contracts with a focus on people and relationship management help ensure the cloud computing environment is always fast, secure, and highly available. The heart of service management withstands evolution and is still vital. The accountability for provisioning Availability, Capacity, Continuity and Security still lies with the service provider.