29 Apr What is the Azure SLA: Microsoft Azure Service Level Agreement
A 99.95% Microsoft Azure Service Level Agreement is only achievable with two nodes for every install
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The 99.5% Azure SLA
Since the late 1980s it has been common practice for fixed line telecom shops to use SLA’s or Service Level Agreements in their contracts. Today, hosters and internet providers use SLAs as well. Microsoft has entered the cloud hosting arena with Microsoft Azure so naturally it published its SLA for Azure. The surprising thing is how little the Dynamics partner community understands about the Microsoft Azure service level agreement. So here are some important facts:
Microsoft publishes different SLAs for different types of services – Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks and Microsoft SQL Azure – but Microsoft cloud services will guarantee at least a 99.95% uptime when you deploy two or more role instances in different fault and upgrade domains. What this means is that your Dynamics ERP install needs to be installed twice (in two separate Azure nodes or containers) in order for Microsoft’s uptime guarantee to apply. Most partners and customers are not aware of the requirement and this could in essence double monthly Azure costs.
You may also find it helpful to read this article on compliance for cloud ERP using Microsoft Azure Stack.
Why do you need two separate instances?
Microsoft Azure updates the operating system in the root partition, sometimes referred to as the host OS, at least every quarter to keep the environment secure for all customer applications running on the platform. Updating the Azure root partition OS and Azure Hypervisor requires that the virtual machines on the server being updated are shut down and subsequently restarted. Microsoft will give you NO ADVANCE warning as to when your instances will be shut down and updates installed. Therefore Microsoft requires you to have a second instance running so a service level can be met – possibly in case the first instance doesn’t come up or has issues after an update. Microsoft also does not indicate how long it will take for a machine to be shut down and updated. This could be as few as 15 minutes or a period much greater.
What happens if Microsoft doesn’t meet its SLA?
It is up to the customer or partner to determine if the Microsoft Azure service level agreement has not been met. In order to be eligible to submit a claim with respect to any incident, the customer must first have notified Customer Support of the incident within 5 business days following the incident. The customer must also provide sufficient evidence to support the claim. Once the claim has been validated by Microsoft a credit of 10% will be awarded for SLAs between 99.5% and 99%. For SLAs below 99% a 25% credit will be issued for that particular month in which the SLA was not met. For more information on the Azure SLA, see the Service Level Agreement
Specific Instances where Microsoft Azure and the Azure SLA is not a good fit:
- Applications with custom SLA requirements
- 32 – bit applications – Azure only works with 64 bit applications
- Applications with specific compliance requirements (SOX or FDA)
- Applications using Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Partners and Customers need to be aware of the specific requirements especially in instances where SLAs and credit are important for the customer. Microsoft Azure Services is a great offering for the right type of customer. RoseASP offers solutions on both Microsoft Azure and our own RoseASP private cloud and we are happy to work with each customer to meet their specific needs.
Finally, RoseASP maintains a SLA agreement as well. Our 99.9% uptime guarantee comes with a monthly credit if we do not meet our agreements. There are no requirements to notify us for a credit. RoseASP monitors its agreements closely and will notify both the customer and the partner if a SLA is not met during a specific month.
For more information on RoseASP Service Level Agreement check out our Cloud Security Page.