Life is good when an enterprise's cloud infrastructure is working well. But when the inevitable problems arise, it's smart to be prepared with a proper technical support plan to get expert help as soon as possible.
For Microsoft Azure cloud users, there are multiple options to get fee-based technical support directly from Microsoft, based on a company's size and needs. Azure support starts with Basic support, which is included with Azure, and offers 24/7 access to customer service, documentation, an online self-help portal and support forums. When more support is required there are Developer, Standard, Professional Direct and Premier paid support levels that can help resolve more complicated issues.
Dissecting the Azure Support Plans
For small operations and basic requirements, Azure's included Basic support is bare-bones, but available at no extra charge. It includes a full set of Azure Advisor recommendations about best practices when using Azure, as well as access to personalized Azure service health dashboards and a system health API. Direct technical support with a Microsoft advisor is not included in the basic plan.
Next up in the Azure support plans hierarchy is the Developer support level, which is aimed at trial and non-production environments. Like all the other advanced Azure support options, Developer support includes all the features of the Basic support level, as well as access to support engineers via email during business hours. Also included is third-party software support, general system architecture support and help response times of less than eight business hours. Developer level support is $29 per month.
The Standard support level, which is priced at $100 per month (or $300 per month for Enterprise Agreement customers), adds more services and is aimed at production workload environments. Included in Standard support is 24/7 access to Microsoft support engineers via email and telephone, as well as is third-party software support, general system architecture support and help response times of less than one to eight business hours, depending on the severity of the issue.
When still more support is needed, there is the Professional Direct tier of services, which is aimed at business-critical workloads. Included is 24/7 access to Microsoft support engineers via email and telephone, along with help response times of less than one to four business hours, depending on the severity of the issue. The support plan, which is $1,000 per month, also includes architectural guidance based on best practices delivered by a Microsoft ProDirect delivery manager, onboarding services, service reviews, Azure Advisor consultations and web seminars led by Azure engineering team members.
Finally, there is the Premier level of Azure support services, which covers all Microsoft products, including Azure, and is aimed at enterprises with a substantial deployment of Microsoft applications and operating systems. Included is 24/7 access to Microsoft support engineers via email and telephone, along with help response times of less than 15 minutes to four business hours, depending on the severity of the issue, as well as customer-specific architectural support such as design reviews, performance tuning, configuration and implementation assistance delivered by Microsoft Azure technical specialists.
Also included in the Premier support level are technical account manager-led service reviews and reporting, a designated technical account manager, on-demand training and web seminars by Azure engineering team members. Launch support for Azure is also an option from Azure event management experts for an additional fee. The cost of the Premier level of support is dependent on the needs of the enterprise and requires consultations with Microsoft. Microsoft also offers separate Azure support plans aimed specifically at government users.
With all these support options, Azure users have broad choices in obtaining the support they need to maintain their Azure cloud or hybrid cloud deployments for their mission-critical operations.