Sunday, January 16, 2011

Google excludes scheduled maintenance from its Google Apps SLA, but not Google App Engine

Back in July of 2010, I wrote about how Cloud Service Providers exclude scheduled downtime from their service level agreements.  Last Friday, Google made a significant change to their SLA for Google Apps by removing scheduled downtime from their Google Apps SLA:
  • Exclusion of scheduled downtime from availability SLA
  • Exclusion of intermittent downtime (periods of less than 10 minutes) from availably SLA
Obviously, it is good news for Google Apps customers.  It highlights Google’s infrastructure & operational maturity (in this case, for Google Apps specifically).  

I also think the announcement is important, because it sets a higher standard for service delivery.  By raising the bar, Google also intensifies competitive pressure on service providers such as Microsoft to offer more robust Cloud services.  Ultimately, both customers & the industry should benefit from this.

However, as I discussed in my July post, for infrastructure & platform services such as Google App Engine for Business, scheduled maintenance still remains excluded in all SLAs:
It is 2011.  If we mark the beginning of Cloud Computing by the initial public release of EC2 (2006), I think enough time has passed for Cloud service providers to do a better job of managing planned outages in a non-service-disruptive way. 

Sidebar - I am a regular user of AWS, GAE,… I have been using these services for more than a couple of years.  To be fair, I have never received any emails from any of the major cloud for scheduled downtime.  I have received a few from other service providers.  So, I would say that they are all doing a pretty good job operationally (a lot better than probably what most enterprises would do), and make sure the services are always up, and almost always perform well :-].  So, they just have it in the SLA agreements for legal protection & liability.   

Never-the-less, when it comes to migrating or designing enterprise solutions, depending on the application type and use-case, this can become an issue, and require both technical implementation & operations planning.


Pavamanaprasad said...

Hi Babak,
What you have written is extremely relevant and important! I have been frantically looking for information about exclusion of 'scheduled maintenance windows' in the SLAs of cloud platform providers, and your blog is almost the only one that talks about it!

We are building a cloud based product for an industry that works 24x7 and was really pained to see the insensitivity to the needs of such industries, by all providers. I specifically looked at and GAE. Do you know if they are any better now? Or does it remain the same.

Thanks again for such a nice post.


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