AWS Adds Very Cheap, Very Expensive Support Options

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By Derrick Harris, GigaOM

Amazon Web Services has made two additional support options available for customers of its cloud computing services. In addition to the existing Silver and Gold options, which cost at least $100 a month and at least $400 a month, respectively, customers can choose from the Bronze level, which costs $49 a month, or the Platinum level, which costs at least $15,000 a month. Perhaps the new options are in response to Rackspace’s new managed service-level option for Cloud Servers, or perhaps they’re to better appease the types of customers that  Gartner analysts believe are probably better off choosing traditional web hosts for their cloud needs. Whatever the reasons, both likely will find a few paying customers, but they leave a bit to be desired.

AWS certainly has a technology and feature edge over competitors like Rackspace, and it continually innovates on cloud pricing models, but it either can’t or isn’t willing to, compete on support. An apples-to-apples comparison is difficult, but Rackspace offers many basic support features for free, with the new managed service level costing only $100 a month (albeit with a 12-cent-per-server-per-hour fee that could cost about $90 a month for a server running continuously). I get that AWS’s cloud is all about self-service and automation, and that it hasn’t spent more than a decade, as Rackspace has, building a “fanatical” customer service team, but, even still, paying at least $400 a month to get someone on the phone (you need Gold support for phone service) seems a bit steep by comparison. Maybe AWS would rather just focus on technology and leave managed-hosting-style support to ecosystem partners, such as Datapipe. But if it works for AWS and its customers, then so be it.

Anyhow, when all IT is hosted in automated cloud data centers and platforms as a service make server configuration a thing of the past, there won’t be any need for technical support at all, right?

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