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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Forecast Cloud Support Costs on AWS, Azure, Google, Rackspace and SoftLayer

Support can be a critical aspect of a successful
cloud strategy, but how much will it cost?
Google vs Azure vs AWS vs Rackspace vs SoftLayer

If you have launched applications in the cloud, you have almost certainly faced questions that search engines can’t answer; questions which are very specific to your scenario. Getting the answers to those questions means accessing technical support from the cloud providers themselves, and this support often comes at a cost.

PlanForCloud is a free cloud cost forecasting tool tool that enables you to get detailed three year cost reports for your application on five public cloud providers.

We are very excited to announce two big news items:

First, we have added cloud provider support costs to PlanForCloud.  

You can now select different support levels from each cloud provider to see how much support will cost for your deployments. This allows you to get a more complete picture of all of your cloud provider costs.

Second, Google has announced their support offerings for users of Google Compute Engine

These support costs are already included in PlanForCloud, so you can start forecasting your Google Compute Engine support costs immediately.

Comparing Cloud Support Plans

New Related Blog: AWS vs Google Cloud Costs: Google Steps Up Its Game

Before I show off this feature, let me explain why this is important. Each cloud provider offers different level of support with different response times and features. There are also different pricing approaches for each cloud provider.

As an example, if we compare response times on high priority issues for AWS, Azure, Google Compute Engine, Rackspace and SoftLayer, we see the following:

Cloud Provider Support Response Times
Support Response Times From Major Public Cloud Providers

From the table above, you can see that Rackspace and SoftLayer both include support in at no extra charge and offer a 20 minute response time, while the other cloud providers only included forum support at no charge, and charge more for quicker response times.  

For example in AWS, if you’d like to get a response to an email support issue, you will need to sign up for AWS developer level support which costs $49 per month and AWS will aim to respond within 12 hours; Rackspace on the other hand provides this level of support for free and aims to respond within 20 minutes. You can see a matrix of the public cloud providers and all their support offerings here.

How to Forecast Cloud Support Costs with PlanForCloud

Let me demonstrate how you can use PlanForCloud to model different scenarios and forecast your cloud support costs:

After logging in to PlanForCloud, open a deployment to see the deployment designer:

PlanForCloud Deployment Designer

This is where you can design your deployments by defining servers, storage, databases and data transfers. Note that there is now a new tab called Support Plans:
PlanForCloud Support Plans Selection Tab

You can now select a support plan for each cloud provider and see how much it would cost. In our example below, we have selected AWS Business level support:
PlanForCloud Reports Page
From the reports page, you can clone the entire deployment and change support plans or resources to see how they would compare.

Please note that support quality may vary from provider to provider. We would love to hear your experience of dealing with the cloud provider support teams - feel free to leave comments below.

Now, that’s support costs done. Now, let’s look at how you can save money on the public cloud: Useful Cost Saving Tips On The Public Cloud

-- Hassan Hosseini
Product lead at PlanForCloud

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