You probably use many APIs and rely on many 3rd party content providers, so you probably know about the countless promises and guarantees that they make to sell you on their expensive services. Service License Agreements (SLAs) are key indicators for reputable API monitors. SLAs help both customers and providers by establishing what each party should expect within the agreement. But how do you know that the company is making good on their promises? This situation is the epitome of a “trust, but verify” situation.
Choosing SLAs to Enforce
Enforcing SLAs requires time and effort. You should choose to expend this effort on SLA enforcement if you pay for the service. You deserve to receive the value of the service that you pay for, and to ensure this, you need to baseline API performance.
Identify quality of service by:
- Testing several locations
- Testing at different intervals
This baseline will either fall within and support your investment in the API monitor or fall below agreed-upon standards. If the latter is the case, then your action is required to find a better API. APIs are valuable to your model, and providers are selling access at a specified level of quality assurance, so your job is to make sure that you receive the service you pay for.
How to Enforce an SLA
- Start by establishing what the provider has guaranteed you. Consider the availability, latency, and scheduled downtime set forth by the SLA.
- Setup API checks to make sure that service is aligned with the guarantees. As we discussed in Best Practices for Monitoring an API, verifying the SLA is an important step in API monitoring.
- Ensure that the SLA contract is accurate by checking that the API really was up 99.9% or 99.999% of the time with only certain scheduled maintenance times.
- Ask the API provider to give you information from its API provider (including its board) to verify with a 3rd party that the quality agreed upon in the SLA is at least met, if not surpassed.
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