Many companies are turning to software-as-a-service solutions to lower IT costs and reduce the technology management burden on themselves. However, SaaS isn't necessarily the best option for ecommerce businesses and there are several important considerations to make when comparing vendors, whether organizations are looking for cloud hosting services or robust ecommerce hosting solutions.
A recent Network World article discussed some of the ways SaaS can go wrong for businesses. With SaaS, the provider owns the entire system, including the application layer.
"That means customers have less ability to tinker with the application and the underlying infrastructure it runs on to make it more highly available," the article stated. "In an IaaS environment, the provider is just supplying the underlying compute or storage hardware while the customer is responsible, in most cases, for the applications running on the infrastructure."
However, Network World also provides several "rules of thumb" for SaaS that apply to any service provider. One of the first things businesses should consider is the service-level contract. The provider should guarantee a certain amount of uptime - as the organization considers solutions, it should identify how much uptime is essential to narrow selection down to providers that meet this requirement. The SLA should also include what the provider will do if it fails to meet its guaranteed uptime rate.
Tips for Evaluating cloud SLAs
A recent TechTarget article offered additional advice for evaluating cloud SLAs. For businesses that turn to cloud services, it's important to identify specific business needs and compare those to services offered by the provider. For example, organizations that don't already have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes regular testing may look for cloud hosting providers that offer robust DR services.
Another key issue TechTarget identified is liability. According to the article, "it's important to evaluate a cloud SLA for potential gaps and ascertain clarity with respect to responsibilities and ownership - especially in case of breaches and conflicts."