Ahoy, SLA boffins!

JC Dill jcdill.lists at gmail.com
Wed Jul 29 20:19:41 UTC 2009

William Herrin wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 12:34 AM, Bill Woodcock<woody at pch.net> wrote:
>> Am I over-thinking this?
> The SLA's I've looked at promise me that if their service is hard down
> for a week (with no ambiguity whatsoever) they'll credit my bill for
> upwards of 2% of the $50k/year or so I spend on the Internet
> connection for my mutli-million dollar online service.

I'm really surprised anyone considers this an SLA, or anything special 
in a business contract.  I automatically expect to get a credit of 
1.923% if the service were not provided for a period of 168 hours, no 
questions asked and no SLA required. 

When service is simply not provided, there's nothing special about not 
having to pay for it.  I don't know of any business where you can have a 
contract that requires you to pay your monthly/annual fee for services 
when said services are not provided.  If you have a housekeeping or lawn 
service that is supposed to come once a week, and you have an annual 
contract with them for this service at $50/week, and they miss a week 
(provide no service) you don't pay them anyway for that missed week.  
You don't need an SLA in your contract with them to have this right to 
withhold payment for the period of time when the services are not 
provided *at all*.

An SLA comes into play when a service is degraded below the quality you 
contracted for.  What credit do they give you when you have 168 hours of 
degraded service, e.g. 50% of the service level you specified in your 
RFQ?  That's where your SLA comes in.  The SLA specifies at what point 
your service is considered "degraded" (how much below the contracted 
service level, and how long of a time period is required before it is 
considered below grade) and what $credit you may receive when you are 
provided some service, but not to the level specified in your contract.


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