Google cloud grows up with more support options

If you use Google Compute Engine or Google App Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, or BigQuery —  there are new support options at your disposal.

Google is offering a new tiered structure that includes a basic free level offering online documentation, forums and billing support; a Silver tier that adds best practices, email access to the support team for $150 per month; and a Gold level which layers 24X7 phone support and app development or architecture consultation atop all the rest starting at $400 per month. And then there’s the super-duper Platinum support that Google won’t even tell you about on its blog — you have to call in for details.

Before now, “premier” users of the Google App Engine platform as a service had access to advanced support, but users of the other products had to tap Google Groups and Stack Overflow for support. That sort of informal structure is not copacetic with most IT buyers.

The new options, announced on the Google Enterprise Blog Thursday, show that Amazon isn’t the only big cloud provider that’s trying to lure business customers into the fold. While Amazon Web Services (AWS)  is by far the leader in public cloud services, Google is one of a handful of vendors that even skeptics think can provide comparable compute and storage scale. The fact that third-party cloud providers like Cloudscaling — are adding support for Google Compute Engine APIs in addition to Amazon’s also shows that folks are looking for an alternative — or at least a backup — to AWS.