Reimagining support for Google Cloud Platform: new pricing model and partnerships

San Francisco  Cloud customers need a flexible and responsive relationship with their providers. We’ve taken a close look at how we offer support and today are announcing a new model, as well as partnerships with Pivotal and Rackspace, to deliver a closer and more effective way to engage with customers.

When you move to the cloud you’re choosing to bet your business on that platform. The way we see it, this relationship is more than just a typical ‘customer/vendor’ dynamic; it’s a partnership, especially when it comes to support. We started down this path last year when we launched Customer Reliability Engineering (CRE) based on the principles of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), but we always knew that it was just the first step.

Engineering Support: new role-based model

Support is part of the overall product experience, and we think it should be tailored to your unique technical needs. We’re announcing the all new Engineering Support, a role-based subscription model that allows us to match engineer to engineer, so we can meet you where your business is, no matter what stage of development you’re in.

We know you don’t have just one project or team. We know you're constantly shifting engineers around as software development projects move from concept to development to production. With this in mind, we took a look at support and asked: Why should you be forced to pick just one support plan for your whole company? Why should you be locked into paying for a multi-year support contract? Why should you pay more for support as you spend more on the platform? If we’re doing our jobs, then you should spend less over time.

In rethinking our approach, and after listening to the feedback from customers, we focused on three principles:

  • Predictability - Flat fees per user per month; no variable percentage-of-platform-spend charges; You should know on day one what your costs will be on day 30.
  • Customizability - You should be able to configure your support entitlements to match the exact needs of your business.
  • Flexibility - You should be able to change the level of support from month-to-month as the unique needs of your business evolve.

With Engineering Support, we’ll offer three choices per support seat:

  • Development engineering support is ideal for developers or QA engineers that can manage with a response within four to eight business hours, priced at $100/user per month.
  • Production engineering support provides a one-hour response time for critical issues at $250/user per month.
  • On-call engineering support pages a Google engineer and delivers a 15-minute response time 24x7 for critical issues at $1,500/user per month.

With this new model, you pay for only the roles your team needs and can decide what time-frame of support responses best suits the lifecycle stages of your applications and who in your organization needs to interact with support.

The advantages of the Engineering Support model are:
  • You can mix and match your support levels and spend to the stages of development maturity for your projects. You can add, remove or change support levels monthly, from our Cloud Console. No more buying the highest tier for the whole company just because one project needs a 15-minute response time.
  • Prices are fixed so you know on the first day of the month what your support bill will be on the last day of the month. No more of the dreaded “success tax” where your support bill increases with cloud usage.
  • You can make adjustments month-to-month as your needs evolve, changing your support needs with shifts in your business.

Our goal is for Engineering Support to eventually replace the “precious metal” (e.g., silver, gold) tiers that link support costs directly to cloud usage. We're aiming to roll out Engineering Support with new customers this spring. We’ll also work with our existing customers to move them to the new model over the course of the year.

And, there's an option to not pay for support at all. As always, we support every customer for quota increase requests and billing questions at no cost. Further, forums, communities, issue lists and product documentation are accessible by all, 24x7.

Watch for more info soon at

Pivotal Cloud Foundry first CRE partner

We support our customers’ needs to use the mix of cloud services that is best for their business. And since we launched the CRE program, we’ve known that it’s important to have an ecosystem of technology partners to extend this mix. So we’re excited to announce that we’ve brought on Pivotal as our first CRE technology partner.

CRE technology partners will work hand-in-hand with Google to thoroughly review their solutions and implement changes to address identified risks to reliability. Additionally, we'll continuously work with our CRE partners to ensure that the partner solution’s configuration, architecture and conventions allow users to create highly reliable and available applications that are in line with CRE’s best practices.

We’re working closely with Pivotal to make sure that GCP customers who choose to use Pivotal Cloud Foundry can feel comfortable that they’re going to build and deploy highly reliable systems by default.

Rackspace Support for GCP

To ensure our customers are covered beyond our own support teams, we’re partnering with Rackspace to offer managed support for GCP. The Rackspace team is actively building their GCP practice, and we are providing them with the resources and tools they need to deliver the best experience to our joint customers.

Our goal is to make GCP the best choice for Rackspace customers looking to move to cloud by creating a high level of integration and experience. Rackspace already has Google Certified Professionals on staff, and expects to begin onboarding beta customers for GCP managed support in the coming months.

Visit us at Next

If you're at Google Cloud Next '17 this week, please stop by The Fifth Nine lounge to learn more about SRE and DevOps. We’re hosting some great sessions including SRE War Stories, where panelists will discuss memorable SRE events in Google history, talks by customers and partners, and a fireside chat with SRE creators Benjamin Treynor Sloss and Ben Lutch. See you there!