Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing business run by internet retailer Amazon, today announced a revamp to its support offerings. The company cut the prices for its premium (paid) support offerings, while also automatically enrolling its customers in the “Basic” support tier for free. In conjunction with the changes, AWS also rebranded its support tiers from Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum to new, more descriptive names: Basic, Developer, Business and Enterprise.
For enterprise customers, there comes another big change, too: support pricing is now being based on usage as opposed to a flat fee, which could potentially translate to cost-savings for some customers as it now offers levels of pricing below the previous flat 10% fee.
All of the plans announced today include support for an unlimited number of cases, are contact-free and are available worldwide.
The new, free Basic support offering available now to all customers includes 24/7 customer service for account and billing issues, and technical support for system health issues.
The full description of the revamped plans is below:
- 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%.
In January, Amazon added its Trusted Advisor service to its Gold and Platinum offerings, which monitors customers’ use of AWS and recommends configuration changes and new services that may help them save money, improve system performance, and close security gaps. You’ll notice that Trusted Advisor still remains only available to those in the top two tiers today, however.
Amazon’s move to cut support pricing is an important change in terms of its ability to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded cloud computing business, especially in terms of keeping enterprise customers happy. And by cutting prices on a key area like support, enterprise and business customers will be less likely to jump to a competitor’s product.
More details on the new pricing options are available here.