The SLALOM initiative was launched earlier this year with the mission to help drive the uptake of cloud services with model service-level agreement (SLA) legal clauses and technical specifications.
Industry analysts repeatedly point to uncertainty around legal issues as a major barrier to cloud adoption. Questions such as who owns my data when I place it in the cloud, what happens if the service provider goes bust, what happens to my applications and data if I miss a payment, and which jurisdiction governs my contract are common and legitimate questions posed by businesses every day - and these issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, trying to compare providers can become complex when metrics are not uniformly defined. Without like-for-like comparisons, it is difficult to determine the true value proposition providers are selling.
A number of groups at European and international scale, such as the European Cloud Partnership and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), are working towards the standardization of cloud SLAs, debating the distribution of responsibilities between the actors and identifying critical issues that should be addressed. SLALOM is going further, by generating an open and ready-to-use set of model SLA contractual terms and technical specifications for metrics. Adopters will have significant assurance because of using a trustworthy base, which is practical, fair, and understandable, while saving time and resources.
"SLALOM will take theory to practice, providing a trusted verifiable starting point for providers and business users to negotiate SLAs for doing business in the cloud in a simple, fair and transparent way," says project coordinator Daniel Field of Atos.
The initiative is backed by the European Commission and the first stage of the initiative is financed through the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, running for 18 months with a budget of €700,000 (approximately $750,000).
The initial members of the SLALOM consortium are global service provider Atos, which is leading the project; legal firm Bird and Bird; the University of Piraeus and the National Technical University of Athens, both in Greece; and the Cloud Industry Forum. External collaborators and contributors are welcome.
- Julia Wells