Survey: Three in Four Experience Cloud SLA Letdown

  • Reliability is a Huge Priority
  • Other Cloud Disappointments
  • GE: Stop Slamming the Cloud, You Fools
  • Building the Solutions You Need

Reliability is a Huge Priority

Three out of four companies (76%) told Illinois-based technology company CDW that they have had providers not fulfill the parameters of their SLAs.

The poll results were included in CDW’s Cloud 401 whitepaper. The paper, published in February, also revealed the top concerns of cloud clients:

  • Reliability – 43%
  • Affordability – 28%
  • Interoperability – 27%

In other words, the descriptions within the SLA indicate the most critical measurement, since uptime is typically central to the agreement.

“Cloud services go down for a variety of reasons,” explains James Bourne of Cloud Tech, “from the preventable, such as a fat finger, to the less preventable, like adverse weather conditions.”

It’s rare for a cloud-based company to deliver per the terms of its SLA, says Bourne, as indicated by information from CloudHarmony’s uptime monitoring service.

Just about every cloud provider, especially in the case of infrastructure-as-a-service, uses its SLA as a marketing tool. However, it can backfire when companies aren’t able to meet expectations. Email management provider Mimecast experienced an outage in the United Kingdom in 2013, leading to ridicule of its 100% uptime SLA. Cloud customers are also not likely to be happy just because downtime is scheduled in order to upgrade hardware – as occurred when Verizon’s downtime was panned by the tech press.

When you look statistics for the last 30 days from CloudHarmony and dig for the dirt, filtering for the lowest common denominator, one thing is immediately evident: bigger doesn’t mean better. As of April 2, in the fifth-worst position out of hundreds of companies the service tracks is the US Central region of Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines: 2.21 hours of downtime, which translates to an unimpressive 99.6927% uptime score.

Other Cloud Disappointments

CDW also determined that cloud was disappointing in several of the ways it is supposed to be strongest. This part of the report is a little weird because apparently very few people answered these questions, resulting in “unsure” measurements of about 75% for each question. Here are the statistics adjusted so that they only refer to people who answered when asked if cloud met the following ideals established by marketing efforts:

  • Agility – 73% yes, 27% no
  • Usability – 70% yes, 30% no
  • Affordability – 50% yes, 50% no
  • Security – 34% yes, 66% no

Although many organizations are obviously not seeing their needs met by the cloud, the report by CDW reveals that 35% of IT tasks are handled by cloud servers. It is expected that the same percentage of freshly deployed workloads – 35% – will be processed by cloud virtual machines as well.

“Barriers for further adoption according to survey respondents are security (47%) – surprise, surprise – trust in solutions (31%), budget (24%) and management support (19%),” reported Bourne.

Although cloud obviously did not live up to the hype from many companies’ perspectives, the general conclusion of the whitepaper is that the cloud remains the best solution for many scenarios. Furthermore, argues the document, firms of all sizes, especially those concerned with compliance parameters (such as healthcare and finance) would be wise to start testing cloud environments.

The CIO of a federal agency stressed to the CDW team that IT leaders should not disregard the cloud, no matter what they hear. Rather, they should approach the technology with positive mindsets to strategically determine how it could streamline the business and make it more flexible.

Similarly, a healthcare CTO heaped praise onto the technology: “Although it may seem complex, cloud is by far the [best] way to go as far as infrastructure and storage.”

GE: Stop Slamming the Cloud, You Fools

Many people look to huge multinational enterprises to get cues on technological decisions. In that sense, General Electric is clearly the current poster child for cloud, as underscored by an InfoWorld interview with technology COO Chris Drumgoole.

InfoWorld spoke with Drumgoole about cloud because General Electric has previously announced that it would be transitioning rapidly to public cloud, drastically reducing its in-house datacenters to 10% of their original size.

Drumgoole told the publication that the corporation currently invests “multiple millions of dollars” in the cloud, especially in the area of development: “If you look at our new apps, north of 90 percent of what we deployed this year has gone into a public cloud environment.” Drumgoole noted that the process was gradual and that many older applications were still being served from traditional architectures.

Building the Solutions You Need

The case study of General Electric is interesting to many people simply because the company is so big and so successful. Just looking at the scope of GE’s data is daunting. As an example, each one of the jet engines it manufactures produces 500 GB of information on every flight.

Your company may not be the size of GE, but obviously you want an IT strategy that will give you a competitive advantage. Don’t work with a one-trick pony, a hosting company that only offers cloud. Since 1986, we have provided a full range of hosting solutions to our many satisfied customers.

By Kent Roberts