Amazon is by far the largest provider of cloud infrastructure on the planet, so it clearly wants to maintain that position against others like Rackspace, Microsoft Windows Azure, and Joyent. The company continues to lower its prices for its Simple Storage Service (S3), and now it hopes to attract customers by lowering prices on premium-level support and expanding the basic level of support for all users.
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One of the more noticeable changes is offering all basic AWS customers free 24-hour access to customer service representatives by phone or e-mail. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, its big enterprise-tier customers are now promised a 15-minute response time on critical issues and a dedicated account manager familiar with their business’ systems.
Here’s how Amazon breaks down its various tiers of support:
• Basic (Expanded free tier): Upon signup for AWS, all customers are automatically enrolled in Basic support for free. Added features in this tier include immediate, around-the-clock access to customer service by email or phone for billing and account issues, and technical support for system health issues. Customers continue to have access to technical FAQs, best practices guides, the AWS Service Health Dashboard, and the AWS Developer Forums, which are monitored and responded to by AWS support engineers.
• Developer ($49/month and 1:1 customer support): Previously called the Bronze tier, the Developer tier includes all components of the Basic tier, plus the following: 12-hour response time to support cases submitted, 1:1 customer support for any AWS-related question, and access to AWS Technical Support Engineers via email through the AWS online support center during local business hours to help configure, operate, and maintain core AWS services and features. The Developer plan is $49 per month.
• Business (Access to AWS Trusted Advisor): Previously called the Gold tier, the Business tier includes all components of the Basic and Developer tiers, plus the following: one-hour response time to support cases submitted and support engineers available 24/7 via phone, chat or email. In addition to chat capabilities, new features include access to AWS Trusted Advisor, a program that monitors AWS infrastructure services, identifies customers’ usage patterns, and notifies customers when opportunities exist to save money, improve system performance, or close security gaps. Customers also receive support for the most common third-party software running on AWS. The Business tier minimum pricing has been reduced from $400 to $100 per month and a 3% usage-based pricing tier has been added to the existing pricing tiers of 10%, 7%, and 5%.
• Enterprise (New pricing based on usage vs. flat fee): Previously called the Platinum tier, the Enterprise tier provides customers with all of the features of the Business tier, plus 15-minute response time for mission-critical issues, and a dedicated Technical Account Manager who is intimately familiar with the customer’s specific AWS architecture. Technical Account Managers will also conduct periodic business reviews for infrastructure planning, report metrics, collaborate on launches, and connect customers to AWS Solutions Architects as needed. The Trusted Advisor program is also available to all Enterprise tier customers. The Enterprise tier minimum pricing has been reduced from a flat 10% usage fee to usage-based pricing tiers of 10%, 7%, 5% and 3%.
Check out the new support pricing options here.
Clouds photo: Paul Bica/Flickr
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