Google adds fee-based support services for cloud platform customers

Users of products like App Engine, Compute Engine and Big Query will be able to purchase access to a variety of technical support services

Google has launched fee-based support services for customers of its cloud platform and infrastructure products, like App Engine, Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and Big Query.

Google, often criticized over the years for having weak technical support both for consumers and enterprise customers, rolled out a four-tier support program specifically for customers of its Cloud Platform services.

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"Support is as important as product features when choosing a platform for your applications. And let's face it, sometimes we all need a bit of help," wrote Brett McCully, from the Google Cloud Platform Team, in a blog post on Thursday.

The Bronze tier, which is free, includes access to online documentation, community forums and billing help. Building on those services, the Silver tier, which costs $150 per month per account, adds the ability for customers to ask the Cloud Platform support team questions via email related to product functionality, best practices and service errors.

The Gold tier, which starts at $400 per month, adds around-the-clock phone support and consultation on application development, best practices or architecture issues. In the Gold tier, the $400 fee is the minimum charge for all customers, and Google then adds a percentage of the customer's total monthly usage fees for all Cloud Platform products if those fees exceed $4,000 per month, according to the company. For example, a customer that spends between $4,001 and $10,000 per month in usage fees would pay 9 percent of that monthly total to receive Gold-tier service. Those who spend more than $200,000 in monthly usage fees would pay 3 percent. The top Platinum tier gives customers direct access to a technical account management team. To obtain pricing for the Platinum tier customers need to contact Google.

Google commits to responding to issues it deems urgent in four business hours or less for Silver-tier customers, and in an hour or less for Gold-tier and Platinum-tier customers. For non-urgent issues, Google will respond in no more than one business day for Silver-tier and Gold-tier customers, and in no more than four business hours for Platinum-tier customers.

Silver-tier customers can have up to two individuals with access to the Support Portal, while that number rises to five in the Gold tier and to an unlimited number in the Platinum tier.

Google's Cloud Platform services compete against offerings from Amazon's AWS division, Microsoft, IBM, and others.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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