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AWS month in review: Cloud SLAs abound

Amazon this month added a bevy of performance guarantees to its cloud services.

Service-level agreements (SLAs) are standard practice in traditional IT, but cloud SLAs are far from universal. For most enterprises, an IT product that lacks an SLA is a nonstarter, so it makes sense for AWS to provide these contractual assurances to lure more corporate customers to its cloud.

All told, AWS added cloud SLAs to 11 services in January: Elastic File Store, Elastic MapReduce (now simply called “EMR”), Kenesis Data Streams, Kinesis Data Firehouse, Kinesis Video Streams, Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes, Elastic Container Registry, Secrets Manager, Amazon MQ, Cognito and Step Functions. The cloud SLAs vary by service, but they all include 99.9% uptime guarantee per month, with service credits if AWS fails to meet those standards.

AWS has offered SLAs for its core infrastructure services for some time, but these latest agreements follow a trend of marked expansion of Amazon’s cloud SLAs for higher-level services the vendor manages on its own internal infrastructure.

It’s hard to gauge the impact of these cloud SLAs on adoption. For example, EMR has been around for a decade without one, while Lambda, which added an SLA in October, is among the most talked about services on the platform. Still, it’s clear that AWS felt the need to put these terms in writing and is confident enough in its backend to do so.

Acquisitions and added services

The cloud SLAs are important, but no contract language generates the same buzz among IT teams as new tools to play with. In that regard, AWS came out of the gate quickly to start 2019.

It added Worklink, a service to securely connect employee devices to corporate intranets and apps; Backup, a centralized console to manage and automate backups; DocumentDB, a MongoDB-compatible document database; and Media2Cloud, a serverless ingest workflow for video content.

There were also two acquisitions that should bolster AWS’ capabilities for cost analysis, as well as backup, disaster recovery and migration.

Open source and AWS

DocumentDB added fuel to the fire in the debate about licensing on top of open source software. AWS built MongoDB compatibility through an API, which enabled it to forego licensing restrictions MongoDB added last year.

AWS has a thorny history of contributing back to open source projects, though company leaders contend the reputation no longer fits. But, as is often the case, these things are never quite so black and white. In fact, just this week AWS became a platinum member of the Apache Software Foundation.

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