Specifications - Reliability and Availability

Does the Common Grant Application offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

Service availability is a combination of the user's network availability, our hosting provider's network availability, hosting provider's hardware availability and our software availability. We haven't formally measured our service availability, but we have not had any unscheduled or reported down time from any users.

Our hosting provider automatically monitors the availability of our website, and automatically notifies us if the server is not operating correctly. Our hosting provider also maintains an inventory of cold standby server blades, which in conjunction with our online offsite backups, can be used to restore service quickly if there is a catastrophic server failure. We currently have the following Service Level Agreement with our hosting provider:

Public Network: Our hosting provider guarantees 99.9% uptime on all Public Network services to Customers located in their data centers. All Public Network services include redundant carrier grade internet backbone connections, advanced intrusion detection systems, denial of service mitigation, traffic analysis, and detailed bandwidth graphs.

Private Network: Our hosting provider guarantees 99.9% uptime on the service network services to Customers located in their data centers. All Private Network services include access to the secure VPN connection, unlimited bandwidth between servers, unlimited uploads/downloads to servers, access to contracted services, traffic analysis, and detailed bandwidth graphs.

Redundant Infrastructure: Our hosting provider guarantees 99.9% uptime on the power and HVAC services to Customers located in their data centers. All computer equipment and related services are served by redundant UPS power units with backup onsite diesel generators.

Hardware: Our hosting provider guarantees the replacement of failed hardware and hardware components located within their data centers. Our hosting provider guarantees a failed hardware component will be replaced within four hours of Customer notification in the trouble ticketing system. Replacement of failed hardware does not include time required to reload the operating system or applications.

Our hosting provider's SLA offers coverage for their network availability and hardware availability. They cannot offer an SLA for our user's network availability or our software availability. Again, we have had no unscheduled or reported down time from our users. Software and database updates are typically performed during runtime, so it is rare that we have to shutdown system access for maintenance. When we shutdown system access, it is usually for a short period on a weekend late in the evening during minimal usage periods.

Support is offered during normal business hours (Monday through Friday between 8:00 - 5:00 PST). If a user needs support, we make it easy for them to communicate with us. We may be contacted by email or phone. We monitor email and the Web-based form outside of normal business hours. As described above, we have found there is a minimal need for technical support. There is no hardware or software to install or maintain, and the site is designed for easy navigation and use.

How is data backed up and recovered?

The server is not hosted by the grantmaker or applicant. The website is www.commongrantapplication.com. It is hosted by the Common Grant Application via a 3rd party hosting provider for our server. Our server is hosted in Dallas at a data center that hosts over 150,000 server blades with a wide range of backup, privacy, security, monitoring and performance options. Our backups are performed daily and transferred over a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to backup server in Washington, DC. Our solution provides a high degree of security, availability and reliability.

What level of ongoing support is required by the user?

The Common Grant Application is a hosted solution. The grantmaker and applicant do not need to install, support or maintain any hardware or software. The only requirement to use the system is that a user has access to a Web browser. The Common Grant Application will maintain and support the hardware and software on its server(s) as needed. The Common Grant Application is constantly improving and adding new features and capabilities. Software and database upgrades are generally performed without any need to disrupt our Website's availability (i.e., the systems architecture allows us to update the software and database on a running system). Backup operations are also performed without any need to disrupt the sites availability.

What is the recovery time if the site has to do a bare-metal recovery?

If our server completely fails and has to be completely replaced and restored, the typical recovery scenario consists of the following steps: