What does SLA stand for

Service level agreement

engl. for service level agreement, SLA for short; Agreement between the service provider and the customer on the quality of the service ordered.

In the case of physical goods as well as services, the quality cannot be determined in a generally valid manner, as there are usually different views on quality. While functionality can be assumed as a measure of quality in the case of physical goods, there is often a dissent between service providers and service recipients with regard to services. While service providers often only perform a minimum in order to fulfill a contract, service consumers often expect optimal quality.

In order to objectify the quality of a service, the service is divided into different levels with regard to various properties, which are offered by the service provider. These so-called service levels then specify the form in which a service can be provided. The client then no longer queries a service in general, but rather at a specific level. Often the levels between supplier and customer are freely negotiable.

The SLA is then the agreement between the service provider and the service seeker as to the level at which a service must be provided.

Originally SLAs come from the field of IT services, but are now used for all kinds of services. An SLA usually includes information on the range of services (e.g. time, scope), availability, the provider's response time, etc.

A typical example is the operation of servers, which should be guaranteed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a failure rate of, for example, a maximum of 0.1% per year and a response time of 30 minutes after damage has been reported by an external service provider.