Microsoft has reduced the costs of its Azure Standard support plan from $300 per month to $100. Additionally, it revealed plans to reduce the response time for critical support cases from two hours to one hour. These two updates to its existing Standard service plan is an effort to make Azure more competitive with its two closest rivals, AWS and Google Cloud.
Microsoft is revamping its Azure support pricing and response time in a move Microsoft says will make it, “the most cost-effective and predictable support offering amongst major cloud providers.”
This update applies immediately to Microsoft Azure’s Standard support plan. For existing customers already under contract, a $200 credit will apply each month to their current $300 per month plan until their plan renews at the new rate.
“Azure is continuously improving and expanding the range of options to help you accelerate your cloud journey,” Microsoft said. “From the built-in Azure Advisor service that provides free, proactive, and personalized best practice recommendations, to direct connection with Azure engineers through multiple levels of Azure support.”
Microsoft says that this update makes it the best value among top-tier cloud providers.
Google Cloud’s premium support services start at $150 per month for its base silver level tier, scaling up to a starting rate of $15,000 per month for its platinum service. Response times for silver customers is four hours, dropping to 15 minutes for platinum accounts.
Amazon Web Services has a tiered service plan starting at $100 and going up to $15,000 each month for enterprises. Response times at both of these levels is one hour for cases where a production system is down, matching that of Microsoft Azure.
Like Microsoft Azure, AWS has a developer support tier, limited to one primary contact, that starts at $29 per month. Where these plans differ is in Microsoft’s 8-hour turnaround for cases with minimal business impact compared to AWS’ 12-hour turnaround for similar cases.
Not every Azure customer qualifies for the new pricing plan. Eligible customers include those that purchased or plan to purchase Azure Standard support directly from Microsoft Azure under the Microsoft Online Subscription Agreement. Customers of Azure Germany will not receive the updated price.
Germany will also be left out of the new shortened response time for critical (severity A) support cases, but all other Azure Standard support customers should expect the faster turnaround, regardless of where they received their support plan.
In the update announcement, Microsoft stated that Azure Germany customers eligible for the Enterprise Agreement Support Plan Upgrade Offer are already receiving additional benefits.
Azure Government customers will also receive a price deduction for eligible Azure Standard support plans from $375 per month to $125. A credit of $250-per-month will be applied to existing eligible plans.
What This Means for Business Customers
This update sets Microsoft Azure up as a more compelling product for sub-enterprise business customers. By aligning its support pricing and turnaround to fall in line with its two primary competitors, Microsoft hopes to continue its market share growth trend for Azure in 2018.