Thursday, March 04, 2010

Service Level Agreement (SLA) For Dedicated Internet Access ….

Just what is a SLA (Service Level Agreement) for dedicated bandwidth contracts?

Easy answer ….. Penalty clause. What the provider promises if they "mess up".

However, in my honest opinion SLA's are 100% over rated and are usually meaningless. What if your ISP absolutely guaranteed you 100% availability and uptime? What if they guaranteed you 1hr mean time to repair? Then they miss those.....

Check your penalty.

These are typical …..

1) they will reimburse you for time lost.

Ok assume $3000/month (large cap circuit) and down 3 days = 10% = $300 penalty. I think they would pay that.

2) they will let you out of the agreement if not resolved within 30 days.

Great … you are out of business up to 30 days? Doesn't help you much does it? Then you need to provision a secondary carrier.

Bottom line. SLA's don't mean anything. Track record means everything.

Get 3 large carrier customers. Speak to their CIO. Ask the carrier if they publish track record stats. Ask the carrier what redundancy or H/A is built in; then ask to see it in person. Regardless of what a carrier guarantees, the penalties for missing their guarantee are not sufficient for them to matter much. If these are business critical get a secondary carrier for backup.

To really protect yourself insist on a SLA which creates enough pain for the provider to force them to take their promises seriously …. And sweat bullets at their expense not yours if they don’t live up to those promises.

For help negotiating to get the best SLA for YOU when shopping for dedicated bandwidth (e.g. T1, DS3, Ethernet) ... use the free services available through DS3 Bandwidth Solutions

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