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Communications of the ACM


Toward Software-Defined SLAs

Toward Software- Defined SLAs, illustrative photo


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The public cloud has introduced new technology and architectures that could reshape enterprise computing. In particular, the public cloud is a new design center for enterprise applications, platform software, and services. API-driven orchestration of large-scale, on-demand resources is an important new design attribute, which differentiates public-cloud from conventional enterprise data-center infrastructure. Enterprise applications must adapt to the new public-cloud design center, but at the same time new software and system design patterns can add enterprise attributes and service levels to public cloud services.

This article contrasts modern enterprise computing against the new public-cloud design center and introduces the concept of software-defined service-level agreements (SD-SLAs) for the public cloud. How does the public cloud stack up against enterprise data centers and purpose-built systems? What are the unique challenges and opportunities for enterprise computing in the public cloud? How might the on-demand resources of large-scale public clouds be used to implement SD-SLAs? Some of these opportunities might also be beneficial for other public-cloud users such as consumer Web applications.


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