Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

SLALOM Report Summary

Project ID: 644270
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SLALOM (Service Level Agreement - Legal and Open Model)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

SLALOM is an H2020 support action tackling the complexity of cloud computing SLAs and contracts through standardization of the SLA and contract terms and a reference model for SLA management. In doing so it supports the adoption of cloud (SLA complexity is an identified barrier to adoption) and supports the exploitation of results from the cloud and SLA research communities, effectively by factoring in advances from the research sector into the SLALOM legal and technical models which will be promoted as industry standards. The project involves interaction with policy makers, cloud providers, research projects and cloud adopters from various areas.
SLALOM set out to provide an open, modular and comprehensive model terms for the specifications of cloud computing SLAs and contracts, and a reference model for the SLA lifecycle management, covering both current market practice and the needs of emerging technology. The SLALOM team is formed by a group of consultants from global service provider Atos, the legal specialist Bird and Bird, researchers from the National Technical University of Athens and University of Pireaeus, and the Cloud Industry Forum, an industry body championing transparency and trust of online services.
The main outcomes of the project are the SLALOM legal MSA and technical specifications. The legal and technical teams have also provided additional, focussed support and guidance documents.
The SLALOM legal model is effectively a complete contract for use between a cloud user (adopter) and their provider. (Placeholders are included for situation-specific content such as the description of services, and charges.) The SLALOM legal model is set out as a cloud service agreement (CSA) document, following a common industry approach, with more detailed content (e.g. specific service levels, privacy, and consideration) as annexes. The contract is ready to use, and can provide a starting point for creating new contracts, or it can be used as a benchmark for comparing with existing ones. It has been designed to be extendible or modifiable because it is recognized that in general variations will be needed.
The SLALOM legal model is found in the public contractual deliverable D2.2 Final Legal Terms for adoption available for download from the SLALOM website.
On the technical side, the SLALOM technical team has produced a series of technical documents which develop and define the SLALOM technical specification. The first major document is the technical reference model, which is the conceptual basis for creating unambiguous and non-contestable (i.e. non-repudiable) metrics. The technical reference model is primarily expected to be used by researchers and specialists in developing metrics. The second major document is a set of proposed example metrics, developed using the technical reference model, but presented in a way which should be more immediately usable by providers and adopters alike.
The SLALOM reference model was created with the aim of standardising the definition of SLAs in a manner that serves the whole lifecycle of SLAs for cloud services and overcomes the shortcomings of existing approaches, by eliminating ambiguities in the definition and calculation of metrics and facilitating the measurement, monitoring and enforcement of SLAs to achieve non-repudiability, so that these measurements cannot be contested. Another objective was to abstract the metric definitions as much as possible so as to facilitate the direct comparability of SLAs among providers.
The SLALOM reference model is ISO-compliant, utilising the classes and parameters of the draft ISO/IEC 19086-2 metric model, but further allows for the use of a ‘sampling’ class for concretely defining the sampling process of the metric. Furthermore, all metrics defined via the SLALOM model should be machine understandable.
In order to prove the applicability of the SLALOM model in a wide range of real world scenarios, a number of metrics directly stemming from commercial cloud providers were successfully mapped to the SLALOM model. The SLALOM technical model is contained in the contractual deliverable D3.6 SLA specification and reference model – c. They are also available as a free-standing document entitled “Cloud SLA Metrics Based on the SLALOM Specification and Reference Model” available on the SLALOM website.
To arrive at the above legal and technical models, extensive efforts were undertaken to consult stakeholders (providers, adopters, policymakers) to better understand the concerns and priorities of the different constituencies. This consensus was supported by the SLALOM dissemination team through the organization of events and online workshops.
About SLALOM
The SLALOM initiative first stage is financed through the H2020 programme, running for 18 months (January 2015- June 2016) with a budget of 700k Euros (grant agreement No 644270).
To find out more about SLALOM:
- Visit: http://slalom-project.eu/:
- Download SLALOM final products http://slalom-project.eu/downloads
- Contact SLALOM team http://slalom-project.eu/content/contact

• What is the problem/issue being addressed?
The complexity of Service Level Agreements can be a hindrance for cloud adoption, especially by SMEs, which are the driver of many European economies. This context gave rise to the SLALOM initiative. SLALOM seeks to bridge the gap between providers and adopters of Cloud by proposing a fair and balanced baseline of legal contractual terms and a technical specification.

One of the most important problems for Cloud adoption is uncertainty around cloud contracts and SLAs (Jurisdiction, liability, service definition, small print, etc.), which leads to risk and lack of adoption. SLALOM aims to tackle different challenges and expects to address some of the top problems for potential stakeholders of Cloud services (Adopters -public administrations, large companies, and SMEs; Cloud Service Providers; Legal Firms and Profession -either providing services or expert groups influencing the practice on Cloud SLAs: Legal firms and Profession influencers; Policy Makers; Standardization bodies; Scientific Community and Researchers).
We identify the following top problems:
- Lack of knowledge about what are fair and reasonable contractual terms and conditions related to service levels.
- Lack of knowledge about how service levels need to be specified technically to provide meaningful protection for adopters.
- Lack of resources – financial and personnel – to be able to research the issues
- Lack of clout to get some cloud service providers to offer fair and balanced provisions.

Moreover, companies, and more especially the case of medium and large size organizations, follow international standards which help them to harmonize technical specifications of products and services making industry more efficient and breaking down barriers to international trade. Conformity to International Standards also helps on companies branding and marketing efforts as it reassure consumers that the company cares for quality of products and processes; they are safe, efficient and good for the environment. Therefore compliance with international standards such as ISO (http://www.iso.org/) is really important for companies. In the IT landscape there are a number of specific standards such as ISO 27001 Information security management and ramifications of ISO 9000
Quality management. Moreover, ISO is now creating the future specifications that affect the provision and operation of Cloud Computing services. It is now producing also a standard in the area of Cloud SLAs, with its cloud SLA working group (WG3), which is expected to be of relevance in the future as other ISO standards have been in the past. Therefore, we identified yet another more problem:
- Lack of cloud technical standardized reference that harmonize technical SLA specifications.

• Why is it important for society?
SLALOM seeks to mitigate some of the uncertainties related with the contractual terms and technical issues of cloud provision, and so allow businesses to focus on creating value. The benefits of SLALOM to the market and the ecosystem can be summarized into its value proposition as follows. Generally speaking, SLALOM promises to deliver an initial baseline to practically address Cloud SLAs, specifying the structure of what a Cloud SLA should have, which means having an initial wording of legal terms and providing a technical specification (metrics, parameters, rules and dependencies).

In terms of value, if we were to define SLALOM it would be:
SLALOM is a ready to use Cloud SLA with its reference baseline for legal and technical SLA.
SLALOM takes theory to practice, providing a trusted verifiable starting point for providers and business users to negotiate SLAs for doing business in the Cloud in a simple, fair and transparent way.

• What are the overall objectives?
SLALOM set out to provide an open, modular and comprehensive model terms for the specifications of cloud computing SLAs and contracts, and a reference model for the SLA lifecycle management, covering both current market practice and the needs of emerging technology. The initial models are then validated through a consensus phase with stakeholders in order to provide final versions which are freely available for use.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Over the course of the 18-month project, the SLALOM partners have first set the bases for a legal model and technical specification by seeking input from key stakeholders to define the initial set of terms that were then presented for consensus to a wide range of stakeholders in order to further align with SLALOM final products with the market and address any concerns raised through the consensus phase. The final outcomes of SLALOM are detailed below.
The main outcomes of the project are the SLALOM legal MSA and technical specifications. The legal and technical teams have also provided additional, focussed support and guidance documents.
The SLALOM legal model is effectively a complete contract for use between a cloud user (adopter) and their provider. (Placeholders are included for situation-specific content such as the description of services, and charges.) The SLALOM legal model is set out as a cloud service agreement (CSA) document, following a common industry approach, with more detailed content (e.g. specific service levels, privacy, and consideration) as annexes. The contract is ready to use, and can provide a starting point for creating new contracts, or it can be used as a benchmark for comparing with existing ones. It has been designed to be extendible or modifiable because it is recognized that in general variations will be needed.
The SLALOM legal model is the public contractual deliverable D2.2 Final Legal Terms for adoption available for download from the SLALOM website.
On the technical side, the SLALOM technical team has produced a series of technical documents which develop and define the SLALOM technical specification. The first major document is the technical reference model, which is the conceptual basis for creating unambiguous and non-contestable (i.e. non-repudiable) metrics. The technical reference model is primarily expected to be used by researchers and specialists in developing metrics. The second major document is a set of proposed example metrics, developed using the technical reference model, but presented in a way which should be more immediately usable by providers and adopters alike.
The SLALOM reference model was created with the aim of standardising the definition of SLAs in a manner that serves the whole lifecycle of SLAs for cloud services and overcomes the shortcomings of existing approaches, by eliminating ambiguities in the definition and calculation of metrics and facilitating the measurement, monitoring and enforcement of SLAs to achieve non-repudiability, so that these measurements cannot be contested. Another objective was to abstract the metric definitions as much as possible so as to facilitate the direct comparability of SLAs among providers.
The SLALOM reference model is ISO-compliant, utilising the classes and parameters of the draft ISO/IEC 19086-2 metric model, but further allows for the use of a ‘sampling’ class for concretely defining the sampling process of the metric. Furthermore, all metrics defined via the SLALOM model should be machine understandable.
In order to prove the applicability of the SLALOM model in a wide range of real world scenarios, a number of metrics directly stemming from commercial cloud providers were successfully mapped to the SLALOM model. The SLALOM technical model is contained in the contractual deliverable D3.6 SLA specification and reference model – c. They are also available as a free-standing document entitled “Cloud SLA Metrics Based on the SLALOM Specification and Reference Model” available on the SLALOM website.
To arrive at the above legal and technical models, extensive efforts were undertaken to consult stakeholders (providers, adopters, policymakers) to better understand the concerns and priorities of the different constituencies. This consensus was supported by the SLALOM dissemination team through the organization of events and online workshops.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

On the legal track, SLALOM has provided a ready-to-use / adapt Master Service Agreement that has already been adapted for real-world use. The SLALOM legal model is effectively a complete contract for use between a cloud user (adopter) and their provider. (Placeholders are included for situation-specific content such as the description of services, and charges.) The SLALOM legal model is set out as a cloud service agreement (CSA) document, following a common industry approach, with more detailed content (e.g. specific service levels, privacy, and consideration) as annexes. The contract is ready to use, and can provide a starting point for creating new contracts, or it can be used as a benchmark for comparing with existing ones. It has been designed to be extendible or modifiable because it is recognized that in general variations will be needed.

On the technical side, the SLALOM technical team has produced a series of technical documents which develop and define the SLALOM technical specification, pushing forward current work and making it usable for research and for commercial providers and adopters.
The first major document is the technical reference model, which is the conceptual basis for creating unambiguous and non-contestable (i.e. non-repudiable) metrics. The technical reference model is primarily expected to be used by researchers and specialists in developing metrics. The second major document is a set of proposed example metrics, developed using the technical reference model, but presented in a way which should be more immediately usable by providers and adopters alike.
The SLALOM reference model was created with the aim of standardising the definition of SLAs in a manner that serves the whole lifecycle of SLAs for cloud services and overcomes the shortcomings of existing approaches, by eliminating ambiguities in the definition and calculation of metrics and facilitating the measurement, monitoring and enforcement of SLAs to achieve non-repudiability, so that these measurements cannot be contested. Another objective was to abstract the metric definitions as much as possible so as to facilitate the direct comparability of SLAs among providers.
The SLALOM reference model is ISO-compliant, utilising the classes and parameters of the draft ISO/IEC 19086-2 metric model, but further allows for the use of a ‘sampling’ class for concretely defining the sampling process of the metric. Furthermore, all metrics defined via the SLALOM model should be machine understandable.
In order to prove the applicability of the SLALOM model in a wide range of real world scenarios, a number of metrics directly stemming from commercial cloud providers were successfully mapped to the SLALOM model.

Related information

Record Number: 191357 / Last updated on: 2016-11-16
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