SAP Cloud Platform Service Level Agreements and ITSM Process
The SAP Cloud Platform service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between SAP and its customers that defines the system availability that SAP promises our customers, as well as the compensation that’s due to them if we fail to deliver the promised availability.
The goal of this blog is to give you an understanding of the contracts that define this SLA as well an overview of how SAP’s world class ITSM processes enable us to provide a high level of business continuity to our customers. We also want to provide a consolidated list of links that will allow you to monitor your systems, and further understand how this applies to your business.
Before we look at the contracts, I want to make sure you have a clear understanding of the services covered by the SLA. As you know, SAP has different several cloud offerings:
- SAP Enterprise Cloud– our private managed cloud solution
- SAP Software As a Service Applications– such as Success Factors, Fieldglass, Ariba, and Concur
- SAP Cloud Platform, which is our platform as a service that runs in both SAP data centers as well as in data centers provided by our hyperscale partners such as Amazon, Google, and Azure .
SAP Cloud Platform provides you with the business services, the platform services, the data and storage services and the DevOps services you need to create new applications or to extend existing applications .
With that said, it is important to understand that although SAP Cloud Platform can be used to extend HANA Enterprise Cloud and our SAAS applications, it is separate from them and has a separate system availability SLA. This SLA pertains only to the availability of productive instances of SAP Cloud Platform service packages that you purchase.
The Service Level Agreement involves several documents that can be found in the SAP Trust Center. The first entry point into the contract is the order form.
The order form is the document used to subscribe to SAP Cloud Platform services from SAP. It defines the commercial terms and lays out the agreement structure. The order form also incorporates several other documents that relate to the SLA. How the agreements work together is based on structure. The more specialized contracts – at the top of our pyramid diagram, override the more general ones.
- The Service Level Agreement for SAP Cloud Services ( Schedule C of the order form) is generally the same for any cloud service on the SAP price list, including the SAAS solutions. This document contains several important pieces of information:
- It defines the formula for the System Availability percentage
- It sets a 99.5 SLA for all cloud services (this is overwritten to 99.9 by the following document)
- It defines the Credit Claims terms
- It defines excluded and scheduled downtime
- It provides the maintenance windows and duration for all cloud services
The Service Level Agreement for SAP Cloud Services is then further refined by the other documents referenced in the order form.
- The SAP Cloud Platform Supplemental terms and conditions overrides the SLA from the Service Level Agreement for SAP Cloud Services and sets the SLA for SAP Cloud Platform services to 99.9% , except for deviations that are noted in the SAP Cloud Platform Service Description Guide
- The SAP Cloud Platform Service Description Guide provides information on SAP Cloud Platform and its services, including any deviations to the SLA for a specific service. (One good example is the Java Servers which have the precondition that you must run with two nodes.)
- The General Terms and conditions for SAP Cloud Services which set the warrantee for the service
Now that you understand the contractual terms, let’s take a look at how SAP ensures that it meets its promise of 99.9% availability with its robust, proactive ITSM processes.
IT Service Management (ITSM) involves all the activities that make up the lifecycle of IT services. At a high level, ITSM includes designing, building, delivering, managing and supporting IT systems and infrastructure. A business needs to have well established processes in place to ensure that its IT services run seamlessly.
In particular, a number of ITSM processes directly impact how well an IT service provider meets their SLA’s. SAP has implemented ISO standardized processes around each of these to ensure we meet customer’s expectations:
- Our ISO certified problem resolution process uses a combination of monitoring, incident management, and problem management that let us quickly and proactively identify possible issues, resolve them, and make sure they don’t happen again.
- Our continuous integration and delivery process allows us to release quality code faster and continuously with zero downtime
- We have a number of process and redundant equipment that ensure our hardware and software resources are highly available
- Our developers use the latest techniques when developing applications to ensure that our software components are resilient to failure
- Our Disaster Recovery Process is part of our overall Business Continuity Plan and is in place to handle one-off incidents such as catastrophic data center failures or natural disasters that impact data center operations
- SAP’s security processes secure the SAP Cloud Platform and defend it against internal and external threats.
You can get further information on these ITSM process in the presentation “The Service Level Agreement and ITSM process Deck” linked later in this blog
Where to find information
SAP Cloud Platform offers full transparency regarding its contracts and certifications, its system monitoring, its root cause analysis, its releases notes and more. Let’s take a look at what is available and where to find it.
SAP Cloud Trust Center is a public-facing website with unified and easy access to all SAP cloud trust-related content including information relevant to the SAP Cloud Platform SLAs such as Data Center information and Disaster recovery procedures, compliance documents and reports such as SOC 2 report and the SLA contracts themselves.
The Service Description Guide provides information about SAP Cloud Platform. The web page and guide covers information such as:
- List of all SAP Cloud Platform services and the available packages
- Link to SLA contracts
- Disaster recovery overview
- High availability overview
- Support policy
It also has Individual information for each of the cloud services:
- Usage metric
- SLA variations
- Additional terms and conditions
- Link to the documentation for the service
SAP Statuspage.io page
You can view the status of the SAP Cloud Platform and its services any time on the Status Page (sapcp.statuspage.io). The status page provides information on:
- Incidents: the start and end time of the incident, a summary of the incident, a detailed root cause analysis, and the determined solution. It also provides information on what measures we’re taking to prevent this incident from happening again.
- Scheduled Maintenance The status page also provides the exact date and duration for scheduled maintenance windows at least 4 weeks in advance
- Subscriptions – the page allows you to subscribe to data centers to get information regarding incidents in any data center pushed to you.
Part of our continuous improvement process includes a detailed root cause analysis of major issues. You can find the documentation of this analysis on the help.sap.com website. (Access to this page requires an authorized S-User ID that belongs to the SAP Customer group)
When planned updates are released, the changes are detailed in our release notes, which can be accessed on the public Help Portal as part of the service documentation.
The main page of the release notes page lists changes for all SAP Cloud Platform services, with a few exceptions (such as JAM), for the current quarter. The items are sorted by date and are assigned to standard categories such as New, Changed, Enhanced, Deprecated, and Announcement. You can also access information for older items under the “All Release Notes” tab.
The page does not currently support subscriptions, but you can get notifications by subscribing to The SAP Community Wiki page that is updated every time new release notes are available
We’ve talked a lot about SAP’s responsibilities and processes, but it’s also important to note that we can’t do it alone. We depend on our customers to work with us to ensure the reliabilities of their systems. The SAP Cloud Platform Operating Model page in SAP help, details out exactly what is SAP’s responsibility vs the customers responsibility
SAP Cloud Platform has been growing exponentially since 2012. During this time, we’ve consistently strived for continuous improvement. As part of this effort, we have launched two internal projects with board level visibility to ensure constant availability of both the platform and infrastructure.
We also have several upcoming changes on the roadmap that will
- Enhance searchability and notifications for release notes
- Unify Cloud Availability Communication with the Cloud Availability Center (A FAQ is available)
- Move to Zero Downtime Maintenance for our major upgrade windows
The Service Level Agreement and ITSM process L2 Deck provides further details on the ITSM process, our customer support process, the information sources listed above and upcoming improvements. Please check it on slideshare by clicking here. This blog will also be updated with further links as they become available, so please bookmark and check back!
SAP Trust Center (contracts and certifications)
- Sample Order Form (English)
- Service-Level Agreement for SAP Cloud Services (English)
- Supplemental Terms and Conditions (English)
- Service Description Guide (English)
- General Terms and Conditions (English)
- Support Policy (English)
- SAP Cloud Platform Certificates and SOC Reports
- Data Protection and Privacy documents
Availability reporting and ITSM information
- Cloud Platform Status Page (statuspage.io)
- The Root Cause Analysis Report (S-user)
- Release Notes: SAP Cloud Platform What’s New page
- SAP Cloud Platform Security: Trust Matters
- Cloud Availability Center FAQ
- SAP Cloud Platform Operating Model
- Guide: Developing Resilient Apps on SAP Cloud Platform