AWS, or Amazon Web Services is Amazon.com’s cloud computing arm.
They do some pretty cool stuff like S3 storage and EC2 cloud computing.
Recently EC2 announced the availability of a free cloud “instance” (basically a linux box running in the cloud). (google ‘aws free tier’ for info). Publicaly they say it is to “To help new AWS customers get started in the cloud”.
Seems like a good deal to me. Lets my startup save $200 in the first year and experiment with the cloud.
However, unfortunately I have already been using an AWS service – S3. While many EC2 instances will use S3, the inverse is not true. I use S3 on a standard shared hosting setup and it works well. I would argue that this doesn’t mean I am using “cloud computing” yet (since I’m not running any programs in the cloud, just hosting some images there).
I applied to AWS Customer support to use the free tier, and I was denied, purely because I had already used S3 in the past. Given my S3-using site is not even live yet, I even asked if I could “delete my entire account and sign up again” (what better way to prove I am new to cloud computing, if not a new signup?).
Regretfully, the AWS Customer Support refused (albiet politely). Now I can’t understand why they would deny a free EC2 instance to a startup like me – given that I am probably the exact type of customer they want to attract with the free plan – new business, thinking of getting their feet wet with EC2, but unsure how to proceed.
So in conclusion, I have to say that the AWS Customer Support is not nearly as understanding or accommodating as their Amazon.com counterparts (who are absolutely amazing at acknowledging and re-shipping lost orders, for example).
All this has left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, because I can’t really work out why my startup should pay $200 for something almost everyone else who is in my position gets for free. It seems like a poorly thought out, inflexible arbitrary policy.
And now I’m considering other providers.