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Microsoft Cuts Azure Support Costs and Response Times

Microsoft is positioning its Azure support services to be more comparable to Amazon Web Services (AWS), lowering plan costs and improving "critical" case response times.

In a move announced this week, Microsoft is slashing the monthly price of its Azure Standard support plan from $300 to $100 for those who buy or who bought the Azure Standard support plan "directly from Azure.com under Microsoft Online Subscription Agreement."

In addition, Microsoft's response time to critical cases ("severity A cases") under this Standard support plan is now reduced to one hour from two, as described at this Azure page.

The price and response-time benefits don't apply to Microsoft Azure Germany customers. Organizations that bought Azure Standard support through an Enterprise Agreement also don't get these perks.

Azure Government customers, though, are getting a break. They'll now pay $125 per month (instead of $375 per month) for the Azure Standard support plan, and they also get a critical response-time reduction to one hour (versus the previous two hours).

Existing and eligible Azure Standard support plan users don't have to do anything to get the price reductions and improved response times. Microsoft will credit their accounts on a monthly basis ($200 for online subscribers; $250 for Azure Government users). When they renew their accounts, the new monthly rate will get shown.

Azure Support plans include technical support for "break-fix issues on a 24x7 basis." The more costly plans offer faster response times and improved adviser access, according to Microsoft's FAQ. There are three severity cases, as described here.

Microsoft lists its Azure support plans at this pricing page, showing "Basic," "Developer," "Standard," "Professional Direct" and "Premier" plans, with prices ranging from $29 per month (Basic) to $1,000 per month (Professional Direct). You have to call Microsoft to get the Premier plan pricing. It's not ad hoc pricing for support, though, as "Azure support plans require commitment for the duration of the subscription term," according to Microsoft's pricing page.

The Premier Azure support plan is for "large or global enterprises" and provides both on-site and online support. It can only be ordered through a Microsoft Account Manager. Microsoft previously explained that a Microsoft Unified Support program will be replacing its Premier Support program that's run under Microsoft Services. It's not clear if that programmatic change under Microsoft Services will also apply to Azure support plans.

Microsoft didn't explain why it reduced the cost of the Azure Standard support plan to $100 per month. However, that price matches the current $100 per month price that AWS charges for its "Business" support plan.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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