Amazon Web Services revises support plans, cuts prices

Amazon establishes a free support tier, and lowers prices for enterprise help

Amazon has revised its support pricing for Amazon Web Services, expanding basic free support and lowering the cost of premium support.

The company has also added a number of support features, including alerts and the ability to interact with support personnel through chat.

Launched in 2006, AWS has been widely used by organizations and users looking to outsource their computer infrastructure by tapping into IaaS (infrastructure as a service) offerings. It provides computing nodes, databases, storage, load balancing and other services, all available on pay-as-you-go pricing plans.

The company's services have been used by developers testing new software services, organizations too small to afford in-house IT systems and by popular Internet services that have grown too quickly to build their own IT infrastructure, such as games company Zynga and photo-sharing website Pinterest. Earlier this week, Amazon announced that users had stored over a trillion objects in the company's Simple Storage Service (S3).

The new support plans reflect the growing diversity in AWS' customer base.

Amazon has added features to its basic free support plan. Now, users can consult customer service at any time for questions about either accounting or technical concerns, by either phone or email. This new services come in addition to the free access to documentation and developer forums that was already available.

Amazon has rearranged and renamed its paid plans as well, cutting the cost of some. The new Developers tier used to be called the Bronze tier. This tier costs US$49 a month and includes a guaranteed 12 hour response time, a direct contact in customer support and email access to AWS technical support engineers.

The Business tier, formerly the Gold tier, offers a one hour response time and access to technical engineers by phone or chat. It also includes support for a range of third-party applications available on AWS. This plan costs $400 per month, $100 less than the old Gold plan. Usage based pricing has been added as well.

The new Enterprise tier, formerly known as the Platinum tier, has been moved to a variable billing model based entirely on usage. This plan used to charge 10 percent of what the user pays for AWS usage, but that pricing can now be reduced to as low as 3 percent based on the volume of usage. This plans offers 15 minute response times for critical issues, and a dedicated technical account manager familiar with the customer's specific AWS architecture.

No plans require long term contracts.

The new chat function will allow users to ask questions to personnel through chat. They can also sign up for alerts, which will notify them of new offers to save money, improve performance of their virtual workloads or close security gaps.

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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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