Home Amazon Makes it Easier to Charge for AWS-based Apps with DevPay

Amazon Makes it Easier to Charge for AWS-based Apps with DevPay

A few days after Amazon released their SimpleDB service, they also added the new DevPay service to their web application infrastructure stack, which makes it easier for developers to charge for apps built on Amazon’s family of web services. “You can think of DevPay as an enabling technology for our other services. As as developer you will spend most of your time working with the other AWS services while counting on DevPay to allow you to monetize your hard work,” wrote Jeff Barr, Amazon’s Web Services Evangelist, on the AWS blog.

DevPay basically hooks into Amazon’s storage (S3) and computing (EC2) services and allows developers to measure and charge for usage. For example, if you run a service that hosts files for people, you can use DevPay to automatically charge if they go over a certain limit and need to use more resources.

DevPay offers a lot of flexibility for developers, allowing users to create their own pricing plan “using any combination of one-time charges, recurring monthly charges, and metered Amazon Web Service usage.” Beyond automatically determining usage, sending out bills, and handling payment processing, DevPay also handles the courtesies such as email notifications — all of which are customizable via the API.

Amazon’s first customer for their new service is Red Hat, who is offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2 via DevPay.

There was some initial confusion about the difference between DevPay and Amazon’s Flexible Payment Service, which allows web sites to receive payments. “I’m still not clear on what the difference is from Amazon FPS. Is it specifically the ability to meter AWS usage? If so, why not simply build this into FPS?” wrote commenter A. Logan Murray on Amazon’s announcement post.

The difference, according to Amazon, is that while FPS allows developers to charge for any sort of service, DevPay specifically hooks into the AWS. When you use DevPay to charge users for S3 usage, for example, the payments are made directly to Amazon and then deducted from your S3 bill (with the remainder being deposited into your Amazon account). DevPay cuts out the middleman — your customers are paying Amazon directly for the web services they are using.

DevPay is priced at $.30 per transaction + 3% of the total amount billed. That’s a bit higher than PayPal, but because it can also do the legwork of calculating how much your customers owe you based on how much they use, DevPay should be a very attractive way for developers to charge customers for AWS usage. Like other Amazon services, this one is only available in the US right now.

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