“Good enough” service is only acceptable until something bad happens, like the Amazon downtime debacle. Then everyone demands compensation for business interruption and lost revenue. A couple of industry experts in a Networkworld article went so far as to say that customers actually shared in the blame for their losses, stating they should have anticipated failure and made plans to minimize impact. Silly customers. They thought they were doing that when they contracted for cloud services.

Cloud service providers are not experts in uptime assurance. They know it, which is why their availability SLAs are empty promises. Uptime assurance is sophisticated technology. Running virtualization software on armies of servers doesn’t magically create it. Purpose-built software and hardware, proactive availability monitoring and management, and best-practices oversight does. These solutions – industry-standard with compelling ROI — are available today. But until cloud customers demand SLAs with real teeth, and service providers own up to their responsibility to protect their customers’ interests, good enough will remain the unacceptable standard in the cloud.