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Amazon Steps Up Enterprise Support for Cloud Services

While Amazon Web Services is the undisputed leading provider of cloud computing services, competitors often are able to legitimately put forth a value proposition centered on customer support. That argument might become a tad more difficult now that Amazon has said it will offer higher-touch customer support.

Amazon announced today it is extending its free support and reducing the cost of premium tiers while adding more support services. The company also said it is will be more proactive in alerting enterprise customers of opportunities to lower their costs or improve performance.

Under the new plan, Amazon is revising its four tiers: Basic, Developer (previously Bronze), Business (previously Gold) and Enterprise (previously Platinum). Here's a rundown of the new tiers as described by the company:

  • Basic: Newly added features to its free support include 24-hour access to customer service via e-mail or phone for technical support, billing and account questions.

  • Developer: Priced at $49 per month, this service guarantees 12-hour response time and access to Amazon support engineers via e-mail during local business hours for help configuring and operating Amazon's core services.

  • Business: At this level, customers will receive responses within one hour from an "AWS Trusted Advisor." This tier provides 24x7 phone, e-mail and chat support. Also covered is support for common third-party software (such as operating systems, databases, etc.). Amazon slashed the price of this service from $400 to $100 per month. Plus, it lowered usage fees from 5 to 10 percent to 3 percent.

  • Enterprise: Customers running mission-critical apps receive 15-minute response times plus a dedicated technical account manager for various planning and reporting services. Amazon has reduced the minimum fee from 10 percent of usage to variable costs ranging from 3 to 10 percent.

Amazon will also offer what it is calling "trusted advisor updates," which is based on best practices from serving customers. "It inspects your AWS [Amazon Web Services] environment and makes recommendations when opportunities exist to save money, improve system performance or fault tolerance or close security gaps," said Amazon Web Services technical evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post.

For example, Barr said it checks Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) optimization, recent Elastic Block Storage (EBS) warnings, EC2 Availability Zone balance and service limit checks to ensure a customer is not nearing limits on instances, volumes or IP addresses. He also pointed to a new self-service portal that lets customers view recommendations and observations covering such areas as security, fault tolerance and cost optimization.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/14/2012 at 1:14 PM


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