Amazon (AMZN) has announcedthat it is implementing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for its S3 utility storage service, making the platform more appealing to enterprise customers desiring performance guarantees from their service providers. The Amazon SLA offers a credit for any month in which S3's uptime falls below 99.9 percent. The credit works out to 10 percent of charges for any month in which S3 has uptime between 99.0 and 99.89 percent, and a 25 percent credit if uptime falls below 99 percent. The SLA took effect Oct. 1.
Developers on Amazon's platform had been requesting an SLA for some time. That pressure was stepped up a notch after some customers lost data during a Sept. 29 outage of Amazon's EC2 service, which runs virtual appliances stored in S3. "We know that many of our customers, including a multitude of teams within Amazon, are using S3 in mission-critical ways and need a formal commitment from us in order to make commitments to their own users and customers," said Amazon web services evangelist Jeff Barr Barr in announcing the SLA.
"After talking to many developers to make sure that we fully and precisely understood what the term 'SLA' meant to them, we were able to start defining one that was appropriate for S3," Barr added. "We're committed to providing a highly available service which meets the needs of current and future customers. This new SLA is our way of formalizing that commitment, letting you know what the minimum expected level of performance will be."
Amazon S3 was launched in March 2006, but to this point has offered no performance guarantees. S3, which now hosts more than 5 billion objects, experienced performance issues in January 2007. Amazon has not quantified the growth or financial performance of its utility computing services in its quarterly earnings reports, beyond commentary from CEO Jeff Bezos that there is "strong demand" S3 and EC2.
Analysts who have tracked the growth of Amazon web services said the introduction of an SLA will spur growth for the platform. "The addition of an SLA for S3 is good news for companies that no longer wish to deal with their own physical infrastructure," wrote Brady Forrest at O'Reilly Radar, who called it "a great move for Amazon and one that is surely to increase their sales."