Even though Amazon has a large lead over other public cloud providers, they still have to sweat out as they target the enterprise customers. Recently, Opsource and Rackspace, two other public cloud providers targeting the same customers started offering managed cloud services with the same cloud like pricing. Already, Rackspace has established their mark in the traditional hosting world with their Fanatical Support. Unlike individual developers and small shops, enterprise customers are not thrifty and they take into account other considerations like the support structure available as they consider moving to clouds. Even though Amazon has been offering Premier Support Services for some time now, it was pretty expensive and there were no attractive plans at the lower end for individual developers and small businesses. Both Rackspace and Opsource are doing it right on the support side and, clearly, Amazon had to respond fast to the market pressure.
Today, AWS announced a price reduction on their support services and new support plans targeting both developers and enterprises. Even though these are not the managed service plans like the ones offered by Rackspace and Opsource, infrastructure support beyond forums and knowledgebase is the need of the hour, especially when Amazon is serious about attracting enterprise customers. The new plans are
- Bronze Plan: This is targeted towards developers and small businesses and offers a guaranteed response time of 12 hours during their local business hours excluding holidays. This has a flat rate fee of $49 per month
- Platinum Plan: This one is customized for enterprise users. This offers a guaranteed 15 minutes response with one on one phone support and available 24/7/365. This plan, in addition to all the features of their Gold Plan, also offers additional support like direct access to Technical Account Manager and fast routing of support requests to specially trained engineers. Their Technical Account Manager helps with infrastructure planning and connect the customers with Solution Architects. The cost of the plan is greater of $15K or 10% of AWS monthly usage. With increased AWS usage, the cost goes down to 5%.
Even though enterprise customers demand these kind of support by default, the low end plans are a direct response to market pressures in the form of regional public cloud providers and others who put stronger emphasis on support. Even though the initial attraction for these users towards public clouds is its economics, they are eventually attracted to competitors and regional cloud players with offerings wrapped with strong support. If Amazon doesn’t offer a support plan at the lower end, there is a clear danger for them as the industry moves forward with newer players. Today’s announcement is Amazon’s realization about this problem and they have priced it attractively for individual developers and small shops (Amazon’s core customers at this point). We just have to wait and see how these moves play out eventually.
- Amazon Web Services Cuts Premium Support Fees by 50%, Still Lags Behind Competitors (readwriteweb.com)
- Amazon Expands Cloud Computing Support, Drops Prices (informationweek.com)
- Amazon Web Services Improves Support Offerings (pcworld.com)