USi Expands Its SLA Offerings

The ASP is offering performance-based service-level agreements on HR and financial planning applications.

USinternetworking Inc. Monday announced a second set of applications on which it will offer performance-based service-level agreements for enterprise resource planning clients.

In addition to performance-based SLAs for Microsoft Exchange, the Annapolis, Md., application service provider will offer optional performance SLAs on human resources applications such as PeopleSoft and on financial planning applications.

The SLAs will guarantee agreed-upon levels of performance for such functions as user sign-on, batch processes, content searches and saves. Other options will include tracking and reporting on real-time critical business processes.

Performance metrics that the service is measured against can include the time it takes to save, the time it takes a system to respond or the time it takes for a specific type of transaction to process, according to Bryan Linscott, ERP product executive at USi.

Linscott believes USi is the first ASP to offer such performance-based SLAs, although demand is increasing for such performance guarantees among ASPs.

"Our customers and our prospects are looking for a true guarantee that the system will perform at equivalent or better performance than when they ran in a non-ASP paradigm," he said.

Each clients application utilization is profiled and benchmarked to create custom SLAs that suit the client. USi in measuring the applications performance against the SLAs will use its proprietary software to generate synthetic transactions that execute and are measured at specified intervals.

In the event that the SLA is not met for measured transactions, USi is obligated to resolve the performance problem and offer negotiated remedies to the client. Such remedies can range from "service credits to dollars back on a monthly fee," said Linscott. "It depends on the event were guaranteeing and the amount of guarantee clients are looking for."

The SLAs and the additional premium for them are negotiated on a client-by-client basis.