Trends Report

The State Of Managed MPLS Service SLAs In 2008: Enterprise Requirements Must Define Performance

October 28th, 2008
Lisa Pierce
With contributors:
Robert Whiteley III , Rachel A. Dines


When outsourcing a WAN, it's important to ensure that the providers your company is considering have the demonstrated experience to meet or exceed all of your specific performance requirements. But today's IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) managers are baffled by a confusing landscape of service-level agreements (SLAs). What should you do? As a starting point, familiarize yourself with providers' standard SLAs — like the performance metrics that are covered, the specific measuring techniques used, where and how often the network measurement occurs, and service credits. US domestic providers offer availability, packet delivery, latency, and jitter SLAs — but these can vary significantly. Equally important are metrics that aren't covered as part of standard SLAs. For example, no provider publishes SLAs around responsiveness or CPE patch/release management policies; these are based on custom agreements. I&O managers should demand demonstrable provider experience with these types of metrics and SLAs, which are as critical to enterprise network performance and user experience as standard ones.

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