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New Amazon Features: Status Dashboard & Paid Service

April 17, 2008 10 comments

I realize I’m already way behind blogging about other new Amazon Web Services features like the recent EC2 release with static IPs, availability zones, and user kernels not to mention the new block storage service.  I’ll still try to get to them – but I didn’t want to wait for this one.

I’ve been pushing Amazon hard to do something like this, and I’m thrilled it’s finally out.  They have a great new service status dashboard complete with historical data and a mechanism for communicating to us, their customers, about any issues they may be having.  Especially cool is that the data is provided via RSS, so you can programmatically poll the status and take steps as necessary.  Awesome!  Get all the details here.

One possible gotcha is that it looks like the dashboard is hosted at Amazon.  We’ve run into outages (very rare) where all of amazon.com is down.  In those cases, it’d be nice to have an externally-hosted site where they could post updates.  Our customers asked us for this recently, so on January 29th, we were happy to comply.  Perhaps Amazon could post to their TypePad blog in events like these, rare as they may be?

Next, they now offer paid premium support.  Need some sort of help that’s not provided on the AWS forums or via searching Google?  No worries – whip out your credit card and pay for it.  Looks like they have two plans which should cover lots of use cases I’ve seen in my own comments and on the forums.

I’d still like to see a pay-per-incident model, personally, even with an extremely high price-tag for each incident.  We rarely use support for AWS, but at the same time, we’re very big customers of theirs, so the monthly price is quite high.  But if we really come up against a big problem, it’d be nice to know I could pay for support just that one time.  I imagine most of their customers will like their Silver and Gold monthly  packages, but for us, they’re just not quite the right fit.  Do they work for you? 

I’m pretty thrilled about this release, but maybe our use case is different from yours.  Do you like these new features?  Are they missing things you’d like to see?

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