There is certainly a battle raging between cloud infrastructure companies. The major players in the industry -- namely Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform -- are eager to win your business. Each company continues to innovate and add new features, hoping that their offering will convince your business to build on their platform.
Among the wildcards in all this: Support costs for channel partners and end-customers. To sweeten the pot, Microsoft recently announced a significant price cut for its Azure Standard support plan, to help entice more businesses to their platform. Previously priced at $300 per month, the company now charges $100 per month for the same service. The company has also shortened its response window for critical issues to within one hour.
There are currently 5 tiers of support through Microsoft for Azure support:
- Basic (FREE) - Every plan offers 24x7 access to customer service, documentation, whitepapers, and support forums. Also included is access to personalized Service Health Dashboard & Health API.
- Developer ($29/month) - All of the paid plans also include unlimited contacts and unlimited cases. The Developer plan also grants users business hours access to Support Engineers via email and a less than 8 hour response time.
- Standard ($100/month) - Moving up to the Standard plan will allow users 24x7 access to Support Engineers via email and phone, and less than an hour response time for critical business impact issues.
- Professional Direct ($1,000/month) - The main benefits of the Professional Direct plan are shortened response time windows from the previous tier, and architectural guidance based on best practice delivered by ProDirect Delivery Manager. They also will give onboarding services, service reviews, Azure Advisor consultations during your time as a subscriber.
- Premier (by quote) - For even more hands-on help, this final tier allows for Customer specific architectural support such as design reviews, performance tuning, configuration and implementation assistance delivered by Microsoft Azure technical specialists. Also included is a less than 15-minute response window for critical issues via Azure Rapid Response.
The Standard support tier seems to be the best solution for many businesses that do not require significant onboarding and architecture help, and this price cut will make it an even more attractive option.
We'll be watching to see if or how Amazon and Google adjust their respective cloud support costs.