Azure SLAs

Another quite short post today, but for a complex topic.

I had the discussion several times with our customers, and more recently with several Microsoftees and MS partners.
The discussion boils down to “SLAs for Azure are complex, and you might not get what you think”.
And I’ll add “you might get better or worse than you are used to on-premises”.

Quick reminder, the official SLA website is here :
They are adapted quite frequently and what I write today might be proven wrong very soon. Yes, it happens, sometimes I am right for a long time 🙂

Back to our SLAs. I will focus on one service, but the idea can be expanded to almost all services.

Some services SLA are quite easy to figure out. Take Virtual Machines (Azure or not) for example. You just have to decide what metric proves that a VM is alive (ping reply for example), and measure that. Do some computation at the end of the month, and you’re done.

With backups, the official SLA () is a monthly uptime percentage. Which does not mean much for me, speaking of backups. Luckily, there is a definition of “downtime” :
“Downtime” is the total accumulated Deployment Minutes across all Protected Items scheduled for Backup by Customer in a given Microsoft Azure subscription during which the Backup Service is unavailable for the Protected Item. The Backup Service is considered unavailable for a given Protected Item from the first Failure to Back Up or Restore the Protected Item until the initiation of a successful Backup or Recovery of a Protected Item, provided that retries are continually attempted no less frequently than once every thirty minutes.

Meaning basically that the “backup service” has to be available at all time, whether you try to backup or restore. But, and there are actually two buts, there is not hard commitment there. Microsoft will give you back a service credit if the service is not provided, to the limit of a 25% credit. Eventually, you could get no service at all for a month, and you would get a 25% service credit. And the second, more important, but, there is absolutely nothing about a guarantee on your data. You could lose all of your data, and at most get a 25% service credit.
Some people would then point you to the storage SLA, stating that once the backup is stored, the SLA that applies is the one from storage. Another but here, as we are in the same situation : no commitment about your data.

One note : I never looked closely at the SaaS services SLAs (Office365 for example), but I remember someone from Microsoft IT saying that it was too difficult, and expensive, even for them, to build the infrastructure and services to compete with what Office365 offers. So yes, you might dig into their SLAs, and find that they have a light hand… but think hard on what you can do yourself, and how much it would cost you 🙂

Do not get me wrong, Microsoft does a quite good job with its SLAs, and from my experience, a way better job that most companies can do internally or for their customers. I worked for a hosting company, and I can assure you that we could write down an SLA about backups, and even commit to it. We could pray that we would be right, and prepare the compensations in case we were at fault, but that was it. There was no way for us to economically handle a complete guarantee.

Microsoft Tech Summit France

As the summit has just closed its doors, I would like to share my feedback on this first Tech Summit to happen in France.
As far as I know there are already Tech Summits in several other countries around the world. From what I have heard, they are supposed to be “local Ignite” events. For honesty’s sake, I have to say that I have not attended Ignite so far, only Tech-Ed Europe a few years ago, so I will not compare too much the two events. However according to the community website ( the sessions were exactly the same as the ones played at Ignite.

I did not see any numbers published, so far, but it was a rather small event. Attendance to the first keynote on Microsoft 365 was not really high, however the Azure keynote attracted more people and the room was almost full. I had the feeling that Azure was more exciting than Microsoft 365, but maybe 9:30 was too early for most 🙂 Or maybe I am biased toward Azure 😉
The conference took place in one Hall from Paris Expo, on one level. And we were far from crowding it.
As it was a free event, right in Paris, it seems that a lot of people came and went, just for a session or two, rather than stay for the whole two days. Which is rather smart, as it lets local people continue running their business, while being able to attend some sessions. And it lent a quiet feeling to the event itself.

For once, I managed to attend a few sessions, and they were very interesting, very focused on a tight subject. I was never deceived by a catchy title enticing me to a session that had nothing to do with what I could expect.
The speakers were a mix of Microsoft Corp and Microsoft France, most sessions were in English and we could interact easily with every speaker afterwards. Overall the sessions raise some good ideas for me to pitch, and subjects to talk about with my customers. I would have liked more technical sessions, but I think deep dives need a specific environment and public to be able to run properly.

In conclusion, I liked the event overall, but I do not see it as attractive as Experiences. And it was much smaller!
Also Experiences had been criticized has being less technical than the previous event it replaced, Tech Days. From my point of view, Tech Summit is on the same level as Experiences, just smaller and 6 months later (or earlier depending on how you look at it 🙂 )

As usual, the strategy is a bit difficult to read, but the local speakers and content providers were present and accessible, which is almost always my first reason to come 🙂

One final word about the technical levels used to sort the sessions : levels are standard, from 100 to 400, with 100 being introductory and 400 being expert. My advice would be to change the description as the level describes mostly the current knowledge you need to have about the product (Azure for example) than the depth of the session. 400 does not mean you will see live coding and the inners of the platform. It means that you know already where you’re going, and have probably already used the product.

GDPR, my love

The original title was supposed to be “in bed with GDPR”, but it might have been a little too clickbait 🙂

Anyway, short post today, but an important one, I think.

To be honest, I feel like screaming everytime I see/read/hear someone telling me that “we need to have a GDPR offer/business/thing”. Alright, it is a buzzword, and I have to live with that. I have made my peace with AI, Blockchain, Big Data, IoT , Cloud, etc. But I still struggle with GDPR. Here is why.

First this policy is a very important one in Europe, and will impact every business that comes anywhere close to us. You cannot ignore it. And every company has to look into it and find out what is needed to be compliant.

Second, the deadline is looming, but the national law for France is not yet in application. There is a text that is discussed (;jsessionid=?idDocument=JORFDOLE000036195293&type=contenu&id=2&typeLoi=proj&legislature=15) but there might still be many changes before the law is applied in France. That means that we should hurry to wait, but be prepared… tough one.

Last, and most important, and the main reason of my screaming : it is mostly a question of law, for lawyers. Sure IT has to get ready to comply, but most of the consulting and debating and discussing has to be managed by law experts, which will be the right people to understand what it will mean to be compliant.

Sure an IT company can get some services in place, offer some broad suggestions and consulting. But without a lawyer, trained for that (and a proper written and voted law…) our job is almost meaningless.