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Analyzing App Workflows in Cloud SLAs

By CIOReview | Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Focusing on the credibility and sophistication of today’s cloud offerings, companies often look to strike a deal with the most comprehensive cloud service provider through Service Level Agreements (SLAs). As output-based contracts, an SLA specifically defines what the customer will receive and not how the service itself is delivered, as it chalks out the services delivered by a cloud provider to fulfill the requirements of their customers. As Gartner expertly states, an institution considering cloud computing must understand the detailed terms and conditions and the risks of signing the service provider’s standard contract before moving to a cloud computing solution. Most significantly, cloud customers should closely evaluate application workflow in cloud SLAs. This allows them to determine application response time and identify the resources that support the applications. It can be done with familiar application workflow management and integration tools from major IT vendors like IBM, HP Enterprise, and Microsoft. Since SLAs brief down all the services to be offered by the buyer for vendor, app workflows need to be intricately defined, as they are the veins of seamless working.  

Importance of App Workflows

The most basic error buyers of cloud administrations make with cloud computing SLAs is overlooking that all applications are truly workflows. When a user passes a request over a network connection to an application that is made up of numerous parts, the work is bound to flow to other segments, inside the cloud or again into the data center, and various accesses to databases that could be situated in or outside the cloud. Eventually, the user receives the response through the network.

Any disruption in any of the crucial part of the workflow can lead to the interruption of the application. Cloud SLAs must focus on all aspects of the app workflow. The quality of application is compromised if the performance falls down anywhere along the flow. Besides performance and availability in the cloud, all the gaps should be closely filled for a smooth workflow. Therefore, SLAs need to be diversified in order to encapsulate all the little elements inside the cloud to ensure seamless performance without interruption in app workflows.

App Workflows are diverse and can improve the performance of applications largely. Some software products such as Workflowfirst and Winshuttle provide a means to create workflow applications with a diagram-based graphical designer alone. These types of systems rely on the ability to capture all of the information relevant to the workflow process through a specialized interface aimed at non-programmers, and then compile that information into a functional workflow application. Workflow has provisions to answer all possible questions that arise when deciding to execute a task. This helps an individual’s work confidence level, which in turn reflects in the quality of the outcome. In addition to it, app workflows improve visibility. Tracking can allow a staff member to instantly check the status of the process. It allows the IT administrators to see the critical processes at every point, identifying problems, and bottlenecks, and monitor end-to-end performance throughout. Therefore, it is advisable to chalk down precise app workflows in Cloud SLA’s for seamless performance of applications over cloud.

Rough Terrains to Scale

Complexities in workflow result in ‘complex SLA’ which providers may not be too keen to accept. Especially, in the case of ‘border crossings’, where a very detailed SLA would be required to address all of the variable crossings between data center and the cloud. Naturally, the performance and availability risks are additional issues. Providers cannot hit a target of workflow patterns when guaranteeing performance or availability. Therefore, it is advisable to limit the number of variables defined. The realm of workflows inside the organizations is expanding with time and critical glitches in applications which can bring down the whole process needs to be addressed in the cloud SLAs.  Addressing all the technicalities in Cloud SLAs mean nothing, if workflows are not defined well as they form the base for seamless processing of the cloud.