service level agreement [English]

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

n. (SLA, abbr.) ~ An agreement between a service provider and a customer that document minimum expected performance, often in terms of operations, such as availability (up time) and response time, and in terms of policy, such as security and privacy.

Other Definitions

  • Gartner IT Glossary (†298 s.v. "SLA"): An agreement that sets the expectations between the service provider and the customer and describes the products or services to be delivered, the single point of contact for end-user problems and the metrics by which the effectiveness of the process is monitored and approved.


  • Cloud Security Alliance 2011 (†594 p.16): Service levels, security, governance, compliance, and liability expectations of the service and provider are contractually stipulated, managed to, and enforced, when a service level agreement (SLA’s) is offered to the consumer. There are two types of SLA’s, negotiable and non-negotiable. In the absence of an SLA, the consumer administers all aspects of the cloud under its control. When a non-negotiable SLA is offered, the provider administers those portions stipulated in the agreement. In the case of PaaS or IaaS, it is usually the responsibility of the consumer’s system administrators to effectively manage the residual services specified in the SLA, with some offset expected by the provider for securing the underlying platform and infrastructure components to ensure basic service availability and security. It should be clear in all cases that one can assign/transfer responsibility but not necessarily accountability. (†1362)
  • CNSS-4009 (†730 p.68): Defines the specific responsibilities of the service provider and sets the customer expectations. (†1752)
  • Furht and Escalante 2010 (†583 p.399-400): Service negotiation phase covers the discussion and agreement that the service provider and consumer have regarding the service delivered and its acceptance criteria. The service delivered is determined by the specifications laid down in the [request for service]. Service acceptance is usually guided by the Service Level Agreements (SLA) that the service provider and consumer agree upon. SLAs define the service data, delivery mode, agent details, compliance policy, quality and cost of the service. While negotiating the service level with potential service providers, consumers can explicitly specify service quality constraints (data quality, cost, security, response time, etc.) that they require. (†1212)
  • Furht and Escalante 2010 (†583 p.407): An SLA is a contract between the service provider and the customer to describe provider’s commitment and to specify penalties if those commitments are not met. (†1213)
  • Gartner IT Glossary (†298 s.v. SLA (service-level agreement)): An agreement that sets the expectations between the service provider and the customer and describes the products or services to be delivered, the single point of contact for end-user problems and the metrics by which the effectiveness of the process is monitored and approved. (†993)
  • Hoover 2008 (†671 p.24): When negotiating for cloud computing services, IT departments should insist on service-level agreements that have some teeth to them. Herbert says. SLAs that guarantee a high level of uptime aren't necessarily standard. Salesforce doesn't commit to uptime thresholds-unless you insist on it during negotiations, [Forrester Research analyst Liz Herbert] says. (†1540)
  • ISACA Glossary (†743 s.v. service level agreement): An agreement, preferably documented, between a service provider and the customer(s)/user(s) that defines minimum performance targets for a service and how they will be measured. (†1804)
  • Law 2011 (†581 s.v. service level agreement): 1. An agreement drawn up between a customer or client and the provider of a service or product. A service level agreement can cover a straightforward provision of a service–for example, office cleaning–or the provision of a complete function such as the outsourcing of the administration of a payroll or the maintenance of plant and equipment for a large company. The agreement lays down the detailed specification for the level and quality of the service to be provided. The agreement is essentially a legally binding contract. 2. A contract between service provider and customer which specifies in detail the level of service to be provided over the contract period (quality, frequency, flexibility, charges, etc) as well as the procedures to implement in the case of default. (†1117)
  • McLelland, et al. 2014 (†403 9-10): Service Level Agreements (SLA), on the other hand tend to contain more specific terms relating to particular services. A study by IBM Research on SLAs identified terms such as “service guarantee metrics” which quantify “availability (e.g., 99.9%), response time (e.g., less than 50ms), disaster recovery and fault resolution time (e.g., within one hour of detection) and how compensation will be calculated and reimbursed for a fault in service. Availability or uptime can be offered based on a tiered payment structure. The SLAs also tend to offer service guarantees on a basis of time periods as well as at different granularities. For example, time periods may be measured in requests to the service per minute, hour, day, week, etc., and service interruption may be measured by service, data centre, etc. [Text includes citations] (†469)
  • Widmer 2010 (†675 p.38-39): Still, an even larger risk has emerged. "The biggest risk with cloud computing vendors is that they are providing very little by way of service-level agreements," said Kalinich. "They're including exculpation of warranty clauses in those agreements, saying they're not responsible or liable for any data that is lost, stolen or damaged, and they're not liable for the accessibility of your data. It's an allocation-of-liability issue that needs to be addressed." Luckily, larger companies are beginning to negotiate away this liability with vendors. The city of Los Angeles approached Microsoft and Google to determine which company would satisfy its cloud computing requirements. And Los Angeles was able to negotiate service that included accessibility, liability, privacy, service level agreements that guarantee the availability of data, and responsibility for damages or losses of the city's data. That victory does not mean companies are now covered. Vendors have yet to remove the clause from their contracts. "[The contract with the clause intact] is the starring point the vendors are using," said Kalinich. "But the large entities are not accepting that. They're renegotiating the contracts to allocate the liability appropriately between the client and vendor." (†1543)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. "Service-level agreement"): A service-level agreement is an agreement between two or more parties, where one is the customer and the others are service providers. This can be a legally binding formal or an informal "contract" (for example, internal department relationships). Contracts between the service provider and other third parties are often (incorrectly) called SLAs – because the level of service has been set by the (principal) customer, there can be no "agreement" between third parties; these agreements are simply "contracts." Operational-level agreements or OLAs, however, may be used by internal groups to support SLAs. SLAs commonly include segments to address: a definition of services, performance measurement, problem management, customer duties, warranties, disaster recovery, termination of agreement.[1] In order to ensure that SLAs are consistently met, these agreements are often designed with specific lines of demarcation and the parties involved are required to meet regularly to create an open forum for communication. Contract enforcement (rewards and penalties) should be rigidly enforced, but most SLAs also leave room for annual revisitation so that it is possible to make changes based on new information.[2] (†468)