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Case Study: Analyzing Google Apps SLA

I must recognise that I love SLAs (Service Level Agreements). I like reading and analysing each document of SLA I find. Today we are going to analyse the SLA of Google Apps (you can read it here).

Google states the following definitions:
  • Service: is the overall “Google Apps” itself (an upper level of the applications, that encloses them all).
  • Service Components: each of the applications of Google Apps. That is, if you don’t have Gmail, there is only one Component affected. Probably you still have your Service up.
  • Downtimes: more than a 5% user error rate, measured on Google servers. That is, your users need to reach Google and also are excluded problems in Google’s communications devices, because they measure only in their servers. 
  • Measurement Period: monthly.
  • Service Credits: this is the compensation model for downtimes. They give several free days in addition to the contract terms (in fact, they compensate for time you didn’t received the Service, it is not a real gift).
With all the above definitions, they agree to a 99.9% of uptime availability.
They also include 3 disclaimers:
  1. Customer must request his Service Credits.
  2. There is a maximum in Service Credits (…and one could think, “is there a maximum of Downtimes?”)
  3. Google Apps SLA Exclusions
I can conclude that probably these are a poor SLAs – only in terms of Availability, because there isn’t any statements about Support SLAs. They asses the Service only from their side (no problem). But in that case, why do Customers need to ask for their Credits?. Google should send a report and also their apologies because they knew that they didn’t delivered you the agreed upon Service Level Agreement. I case of having unhappy customer, this fact could cause more problems. But Google states that if they don’t deliver the agreed Service, you are only “eligible” to receive their Service Credits as compensation. That is not much of an assurance.  
Well, this is only my professional analysis. I must say that I love Google and their Apps, and I recommend them to anyone.  In fact, these are not the worst SLAs I have read. In the coming days, I will analyse Amazon‘s and HP’s SLAs on Cloud Computing. I am sure all of them will need to improve their offering and definitions on SLAs if they want to achieve the real potential of Cloud services.

What is your opinion about Google Apps SLA?

Author: angelberniz (All Rights Reserved by the authors).

Source: Original Text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image:  © yanikphoto –
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