Microsoft Windows Azure European Outage vs. Cloud SLAs
Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud suffered a 2.5 hour outage in Europe last Thursday. The darkness arrived even as some cloud service providers — HP Cloud and Intermedia, among them — offer strong and stronger SLAs (service level agreements). Can Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) keep pace?
For VARs and MSPs, the outages raise the old question: What can channel partners do to support customers when their cloud providers go dark? Some MSP software providers such as Level Platforms offer cloud monitoring capabilities, which at least allows MSPs to alert customers during problem times.
Bottom line: Neither Azure nor Amazon’s cloud are perfect. But I still insist that the best clouds are far more reliable than most traditional on-premises IT networks.
Cloud SLAs Improve
Despite the occasional setback like last week’s Azure darkness, there are also signs that cloud service providers are getting more confident in their SLAs (service level agreements). Indeed:
- Hewlett-Packard’s HP Cloud is promoting a 99.95 percent SLA — claiming to deliver the best service guarantee available for its object storage and CDN (content delivery network) platforms.
- Intermedia offers a five-nines (99.999 percent) SLA for its hosted Exchange service.
I’m still checking to see what caused last week’s Azure outage in Europe. As more cloud services providers move into the market, Microsoft Windows Azure will have less and less room for error.