XSP: Tracking The Elusive Service-Level Agreement - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


XSP: Tracking The Elusive Service-Level Agreement

In today's economy, old phrases like "you get what you pay for" are becoming increasingly relevant, especially when judging service providers. Traditionally, service-level management has been covered by variations on the service-level agreement. But today, Response Networks revealed that by the end of June it will offer a platform that provides greater granularity when managing networks and applications.

Response Networks' Pulsar xSP adds another software layer. Service providers who implement the service can program Pulsar xSP to monitor application and network performance and uptime. Pulsar xSP uses policies, or thresholds, that promises to detect not only when a system is up or down but also when application response time is degrading.

For example, a bank might want to know that by using one of its applications it can clear its funds by the end of the day--but they can't afford a service provider for the 99.999% uptime to accomplish such a task. That, however, might not be the right solution for correctly managing the services. According to Ivan Sheffrin, Response Networks' founder and senior VP of business development, "More likely, this is a case of making sure a certain application is highly available toward the end of the day, so all the work can be completed before closing."

Some companies rely upon multiple service providers to manage different components of their IT environments. For those firms, xSP also offers an aggregated view to show how well each service provider is performing against its SLAs. The service provider market has fragmented over the past few years to the point where each service provider--whether they offer Internet access, application hosting, storage, or security services--can guarantee only the part of their customer's IT infrastructure that they touch, Sheffrin says.

There's a need for meaningful service-level reporting and guarantees, but a lot of companies outsource work without a service-level contract, says Rick Sturm, president of Enterprise Management Associates. "They do this because their service providers are resistant to signing a contract or because the company doesn't know how to put together and enforce an SLA," he says, adding that Response Networks simplifies the drafting and enforcement of SLAs by automating the process online.

Clients don't want to give up response time when they transition their applications to an application service provider, says Richard Steranka, a director for the Internet communications software group of Cisco Systems, which owns about 10% of Response Networks. Together, Cisco's service-provider product and Internet-communications software groups have been working with Response Networks to develop products like xSP, which can measure response times through Cisco's networking fabric. Cisco's goal with xSP is to enable its customers to diagnose, isolate, and fix network problems that can affect application response time.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
IT Careers: 10 Industries with Job Openings Right Now
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/27/2020
How 5G Rollout May Benefit Businesses More than Consumers
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/21/2020
IT Leadership in Education: Getting Online School Right
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/20/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll