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Internet Performance for Dummies

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Chapter 3: Website, Application, and Service Dependencies 23 These materials are © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Any dissemination, distribution, or unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. customer (for example, between an IT help desk and a com- pany's employees), but the focus here is on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cloud providers, CDNs, and their business customers. An SLA is usually included as an addendum to a contract, rather than a contract itself. Typical provisions in an SLA will address minimum Internet Performance standards in terms of speed, latency, and avail- ability (or uptime). Additionally, the SLA will define remedies (SLA credits) for SLA violations and the process for request- ing an SLA credit. It is important to know that there is typically little to no room for negotiation of a third‐party service provider's SLA terms. The service provider will correctly argue that it is impossible for it to maintain different SLA terms for each of their several thousand customers. Still, SLA negotiation is an important part of the selection and provisioning process and you should fully understand your service provider's SLA provisions before signing a contract. A common argument against SLAs is that the remedies pro- vided are meaningless. Website downtime for many busi- nesses directly results in lost revenues. Indirect losses can result from damage to your brand reputation due to a website outage. Online consumers (mistakenly) believe that success- ful companies don't have website issues. Thus, an outage that results in three hours of website downtime, for example, for an e‐commerce company that averages $5,000 in online sales per hour theoretically costs the company $15,000 in lost sales. The remedy for a three‐hour outage is typically an invoice credit equal to the cost of three hours of monthly Internet service — probably a few dollars at most. Just as a service provider is unlikely to modify the performance terms of its SLA, it isn't feasible or practical to provide different remedies based on theoretical losses for each of a service provider's individual customers — a single outage event could bankrupt even the largest service provider! However, SLAs are important nonetheless. An SLA demon- strates how seriously a service provider is committed to its

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