Essential SLA Element #1: Why specifying each service to be provided is critical Posted on October 13, 2011 by Tim Burke I see five essential elements that you absolutely need to pay attention to in your managed and cloud services SLAs. I’ll review each of them in my blog, starting with: Specifying each service to be provided. This may seem obvious, and, in fact, it is. Yet too many service-level agreements are surprising vague about what exactly you’re buying. When it comes to describing the services you’re signing on for, you want specifics. There are two chief ways your SLA should include those specifics: Make sure your SLA includes a sufficiently detailed functional description of each service — what the service actually does and how the service does it —, rather than just the provider’s current name for the service. This protects you when updates to the provider’s underlying infrastructure happen to alter the functionality of your service, which might cause a capability you depend on to be deleted. Your SLA should also codify all service parameters and establish minimum performance levels required for each service. This enables you to get a guarantee from your service provider about service performance levels, such as transaction throughput time, service availability/uptime, mean-time-to-respond to/resolve a trouble call, and mean-time-to-restore should problems with the service occur.