Proceedings of 18th Annual Frontiers in Service Conference, Hawaii, 2009

Quality metrics for Virtualized IT Services on the Cloud

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Information Technology Services are moving beyond outsourcing and offshoring models to Virtualization of the services on the cloud. This means that a composite service is delivered to end users as a single product. This composite Service comprises of individual services that could be produced by different sources. Each service in turn depends on backend services (such as database, web server) and resources (such as storage, bandwidth, CPU) for it’s successful delivery. It provides consumers the flexibility of using an IT product without spending resources on hosting, maintaining or upgrading it. Unlike other services, Virtualized service does not correspond to the Business to Client (B-C) delivery models. Existing quality metrics for services, mostly developed in terms of B-C interactions in the physical (SERVQUAL) or electronic-retailing (ES-QUAL) do not directly translate to this domain. In this paper, we propose a new classification for IT services. This classification enables Service providers to identify the type of service they are offering and depending on their service class, the expectation service consumers might have of their service. This classification is based on the two measures we define -- Service Coupling and Degree of Separation. The first measure, Service Coupling, measures the dependencies between two services and explores how the quality of a service is affected by its constituents. The second measure of Degree of Separation determines the level of interaction between service consumer and the service provider and how that affects Consumer perception of Service Quality. This enables service providers to define and judge what quality metrics are appropriate for a particular service, and also helps create mechanisms where quality metrics at different levels can be related.


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