The biggest advantage to Cloud Computing is that the company eliminates costs by outsourcing software, hardware, and network capacity provision. It allows the business to perform its core business objectives in an optimal manner. The provision of cloud software and infrastructure needs a binding contractual relationship to determine the nature of services provided. These are in the form of SLAs. SLA stands for Service Level Agreement; it is an element of service contracts where the nature of service to be provided is defined. This explains to the party sourcing the services what they are expecting of the cloud company in the simplest terms possible.

The language of Cloud SLAs will be sourced from technical terminology prevalent in this particular field. As a matter of necessity, SLAs employ the use of technical jargon that a reasonable individual versed in the field would understand clearly. The SLAs come in different varieties; one, Customer based SLA – this deals with the service issues of an individual customer group. For example, it can be used where a company needs a private and personalized cloud. Two, Service based SLA – this addresses the service agreement for a particular service for all customers.

The cloud SLA enables the provider to set service provision targets that are within his capacity to deliver. This is because it defines Service Level Management SLM, practices. SLM are specific to Information Technology infrastructure and provide for monitoring, reviewing, and continuous identification of service delivery levels specified in the SLA. SLM ensures adequate service delivery in a timely fashion by providing service continuity mechanisms. It organizes the crucial aspects of service availability management, service capacity, and management of incidents and problems. Finally, SLM produces the service catalogue to ensure that clientele is aware of the current services available from the cloud solutions provider.

The metric defined in cloud service SLAs are such as; one, server uptime and downtime. The former is the time duration the server is operational and available while the latter is time the server needs to be offline for maintenance and upgrades. Two, Mean Time to Recovery MTTR; this is the amount of time service restoration will take when the component systems or subsystems fail. There are other service delivery metric specific to cloud hosting, all covered by the SLA. The main benefit of the SLA is it defines the exact contractual obligations undertaken in clear terms for the parties contracting. When enforcing service delivery this is the document one uses. 
Setting up a cloud solution for business purposes can seem daunting to the novice; however, this can be simplified by following several steps.

  • Firstly, determine the service level your business requires. This should be based on the nature of resource usage within the company structure. The resources sourced can be simple software services to more complicated full platform and infrastructure services. Analyze the architecture of your business, to determine which resources the business needs and how these resources are used. For example, a business that develops software might only need access to cloud server and infrastructure.
  • Secondly, determine the intended resource expenditure on cloud solutions. Cloud solutions help a business to decrease operational costs. This is achieved because the model only charges for actual resource usage and the support personnel are provided by the vendor. Where a business seeks to optimize resource expenditure on information technology services then the solution sought should be comprehensive in service provision.
  • Mix and match available solutions to get the best solution for your needs. Publicly available cloud solutions can decrease costs for the provision of services such as email messaging. A private cloud service, while providing high levels of customization, increases the cost of the final solution. This should be only used to preserve confidentiality of information and secure transactions. A private cloud service, while costlier, has the added advantage of providing the end user with complete control.
  • Undertake research into the nature of the available cloud services. Before committing to any solution, the business must check all available solutions to determine which is best suited to their needs. The difficulty of the research process can be eased by employing cloud computing consultants. These consultants will undertake to inform and train you on the availability and implementation of cloud services.
  • Ensure that the cloud solution you select is optimized for business function. This means that the solution should have managed hosting service. This has the advantage of placing the vendor’s expertise on technical matters at your disposal.
  • Check to determine the service provision of the vendor. They must provide reliable, accessible, and available customer care service at the request.
  • Next, read the cloud computing contract carefully in order to understand the terms and conditions of service.
  • Lastly, contract the cloud computing provider and have them undertake the implementation of the solution within your company architecture. This should help your business to optimize on functionality and streamline your resource usage.