SLA Tips Help Companies Get Right Vendors, Services

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More companies are investing in managed network services as budgets grow tighter. And as businesses embrace this trend, service level agreements are the primary way businesses can ensure they get the performance they signed up for in the vendor contract, says Gunnar Peters, a senior product manager at Virtela, which provides managed network services, in a guest column for IT Business Edge.


Peters offers some tips to keep in mind when evaluating a potential network partner.


  • Global Businesses Need Global SLAs

Many providers only guarantee performance for their domestic or regional networks, and may not offer SLAs for international locations covered by partner networks. As a result, it's easy to find your company caught up in a cycle of stitching together SLAs. Or worse, you might not be covered as well as you should be when expanding globally.


  • Know Your Metrics

Most providers will offer SLAs for the metrics of availability, latency and packet loss. However, keep in mind that they are not always measured in the same way.


  • Read the Fine Print

It's important to look under the covers and make sure you fully understand how the service is being assessed and whether the guarantees you expect are actually in place. For example, some providers stipulate that performance measures are Service Level Objectives (SLOs) for an initial period of time. Objectives are just that-goals rather than guarantees-and their benefit is limited. Objectives offer little in the way of insurance should the provider fail to meet the stated goals.


In addition to Peters' column, check out these tools and resources in the Knowledge Network.