How those SLA metals are losing their value

4 01 2012

I was on a call before, and a thought struck my mind again. I’ve been seeing people all over the globe use valuable metals to describe their service levels, resources, and/or properties. And you know what? It doesn’t work!

I see examples every day. I’ve created a service offering, and it goes by the name “Platinum”. You get 4 of the fastest servers out there, 512GB of RAM per server, and we’ll throw in some SSD’s.

So, what do I do next year?

Since platinum is still platinum, what happens when the servers that I ordered don’t have the same CPU frequency? Or people would expect double the amount of RAM for the server? Maybe the price for the Solid State Disks went down, and I can now get double or triple the capacity for the same amount of money (well, maybe not next year, but what about the year after)?

When you actually offer an internal service, it’s key to think about what you are actually offering. Are you describing your service? If so, a general name might not be bad. Car manufacturers have been doing this for ages, – Get the new XYZ executive edition! -, and while the model name rarely changes when a revision came, they’ve added a year, or an internal version number to distinguish between revisions. And you ordered your car just prior to the new launch? Well, you’re out of luck, but we’ll gladly sell you the newer version.

Now change places, and take on the role of the car manufacturer. Would you still call your currently fastest model “Platinum”? When you know that in two weeks time, you’ll be working on an even faster engine?

No you wouldn’t!

You would pick something that describes the product (or service) you are going to offer. If you want to offer that server class I mentioned before, pick something sensible. Describe what the service does, perhaps add a revision number or a time stamp. Instead of calling it “Jumbo-servers Platinum”, call it “Jumbo-servers Q1 2012, 4x XYZ virtualization server, quad core, 512GB RAM, 1 SSD 120GB”.

And if you can’t make the name that long, think of useful shorter codes. Spread the word and show people that you aren’t starting off well with new projects by using gold, silver and bronze as your service levels, and tell them that gold isn’t going to be gold in one year.

Oh, and before someone on Twitter says something. Unobtanium is cool, but I wouldn’t want it as a name. Nor would I prefer Yuan Renminbi, atomic weights or Apple specs. Although those gave me a good chuckle!


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