Comparison of AWS and Rackspace SLA’s



Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace are the two-leading public cloud service providers of the 21st century. The service level agreement laid down by these companies describes the level of service that can be expected by the user from the cloud service provider. The intention of a service level agreement is to let know the user what he/she will receive from the cloud service provider. The service level agreement is aimed at providing the cloud provider’s transparency in customer service. There are certain differences in the service level agreements of Rackspace and AWS.

The most important factor a user considers when selecting a public cloud service provider is the uptime or the availability guarantee of the cloud service provider. Rackspace claims to have an uptime of 100% while AWS claims to have an availability guarantee of 99.95%. AWS’s approach to this is more realistic which provides them with the right to have a downtime of 4.3 hours anytime in a year. In case of network failures, the user always wants to know the MTTR (Mean time to resolve) claimed by the cloud service provider. While AWS decides to not specify the MTTR, Rackspace claims to resolve issues in the time span of 1 hour. If Rackspace fails to resolve the issues in the time period specified, they owe the user credits for network usage as a penalty.  This is something that Amazon should include in their SLA. If AWS or Rackspace violates any clause specified by them in the SLA, the user/customer gets the right to notify the companies about the same. After notifying the company the customer must request for the credit from the companies. Amazon has to pay the customer a credit of 10% period while Rackspace owes the customer 100% credit if it vindicated. Also, if the storage service provided by the companies goes down for some time AWS offers 25% credit to the customer while Rackspace again owes the customer 100% credit. Both the companies might want to think about an automated credit function in events of downtime in their service. Also, Rackspace and AWS both provide recommendations to the customer on how the services offered by AWS and Rackspace best suit the customers case. Rackspace also has a flat rate across the multiple availability zones except for UK. Amazon on the other hand does not provide a flat rate across all the availability zones and has slightly higher rates in the UK, just like Rackspace. The foundation of cloud servers is built on shared resources. So, in the case of Rackspace the customer with the bigger ‘Flavor’ (instance) is given top priority in a rack. But in the case of Amazon Web services, the customer gets the services he/she pays for. Variable performance is offered by Rackspace, while dedicated performance is the key feature of AWS. When it comes to storage Rackspace charges a customer with 10 cents/GB of storage, while AWS charges 14 cents/GB up to 1 TB of data storage. Outgoing bandwidth being an important factor, plays a key role in deciding the public cloud service provider for the customer. Rackspace charges the customer with 18 cents/GB. On the other hand, AWS does not charge the customer with a single penny for the first GB of outgoing bandwidth. But, later after the first GB, AWS charges the customer 12 cents/GB up to 1 TB. AWS, clearly is a win-win situation when it comes to outgoing bandwidth. Also, there AWS has key features of spot instances and reserved instances. Rackspace does not have any such feature to offer which can help the user reserve instances for future use with guaranteed performance. Rackspace is ideal for customers looking at services such as uptime, architectural guidance and managed services. But, AWS is more suited for customers looking for commodity capabilities at lowest costs. Amazon also has a separate storage service called as S3. It allows blob storage and retrieval for data from 1 B to 5 TB. Storage SLA of AWS thus covers blob storage and retrieval. Remote disks called as elastic blob store are reserved for EC2 instances. Rackspace on the other hand do not offer any separate storage service SLA.

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Spada, Stefano. “Exploring Cloud Slas: Amazon Vs Rackspace – Web Host Industry Review”. Web Host Industry Review. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

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