Last week I bought a new virtual server to be able to hold clients that rapidly expand or have sudden bursts of traffic (CloudFlare FTW!). While reviewing the service provider, I started thinking about... you guessed it, Service level agreements - do they ever *not* give us headaches? and Re: What does it take to satisfy you when testing if a service is available or not?!
Except I'm revising my thoughts on how to blend those two concerns. Here's my question:
How far do you go when monitoring a service provider's infrastructure?
Currently, my uptime/service-checker-du-jour is Pingdom. They do a good job for the basics and I don't have to host the service on my own infrastructure. They're a trusted service with major brand recognition and are independent of me and my own business so a service provider would have a harder time disputing any of the results I show them. The trouble is that I pay based on the number of checks that I use. So in essence, I'm paying a fee for a service that checks to make sure I'm getting what I'm paying for out of another service provider. Even if I had my own infrastructure set up for monitoring (I might make a tricked out monitoring server of my own), I'd still be using my time and effort to check the service provider.
The idea is that, in the case of service denigration or an outright outage, it's best to come to the table with your own data. Especially if it's seriously cross-checked and thoroughly inclusive of many different data points. I've heard of SLAs that demand a certain amount of your own data before the provider will "pay out."
The problem is that I get a bit skeeved that I'm having to spend time and money to ensure that I'm getting what I'm paying for and to make it more likely that, in the event of an SLA infraction, my business and clients get treated properly. What do you think?
Do you monitor your service provider's equipment? Do you keep an eye on as much of their forward facing infrastructure as possible and keep historical data? Do you prefer to come to the table with as much of your own observations about the service provider's performance as possible? Have you ever been put in an awkward situation by a service provider who's monitoring data did not match your experience with them?
Tell me about your perspective and experiences. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Gotta go... I think I hear the black helicopters getting closer.