Amazon Web Services announced today that it's reducing the cost of existing premium support plans by 50% and adding two new support options to its selection of plans. The existing Gold and Silver options will be complimented by a new low-cost Bronze option and a high-end Platinum option. The basic support plan is not changing.

This is obviously good news for existing AWS customers. However, competitors like GoGrid, Joyent and RackSpace include 24/7 support with all plans. The additional cost for support can make AWS significantly more costly than other solutions.

Thus far, AWS's strategy seems to have been to leave support and managed solutions to resellers like Engine Yard and Heroku. The Platinum support offering comes at a steep premium compared with that of competitors and resellers, suggesting to me Amazon.com wants maintain the strategy of renting infrastructure but leaving support to partners.

AWS now offers the following plans:

  • Bronze - $49 a month for business day technical support, with response times ranging from twelve hours to one business day.
  • Silver - $100 a month or 5% of the total monthly AWS usage (whichever is higher) for business day technical support, with response times of four business hours for higher severity issues.
  • Gold - $400 a month or 5% - 10% of monthly usage for around-the-clock support and response times of one hour for urgent issues.
  • Platinum - $15,000 per month or 10% of the total monthly AWS usage for fifteen minute response time for critical issues. This plan will also provide a technical account manager to serve as a primary point of contact for a customer and become personally familiar with that customer's needs.

By way of comparison, Joyent offers 24/7 support via e-mail and its help desk with an average response time of two hours. It also offers emergency phone support for inaccessible service.

GoGrid offers 24/7 support by e-mail, phone and web chat. Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Samuels says the response time is about 30 minutes for urgent issues and less than two hours for most other issues. All customers have access to a technical account manager.

Rackspace also offers 24/7 support by e-mail, phone and web chat with all plans. It also recently introduced its $100 per month managed hosting plan which provide an additional level of support. Lead Cloud Marketeer Jim Battenberg says Rackspace answers support calls within three rings. "I think three rings is a lot better than two hours," says Battenberg about AWS. He says resolution time varies depending on the issue, but notes that Rackspace employees receive considerable training through its Rackspace University program - meaning that end-user support agents are well prepared for many of the issues that customers face.

What do you think? Do the new pricing models change your view of AWS?