Amazon Beefs Up AWS Premium Cloud Support

Amazon has added two new options to its Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premium Support play for cloud customers, offering third-party software support and a trusted advisor option.

The additions are an update on AWS Premium Support, support options that the cloud colossus launched built out a little more than a year ago.

According to Amazon, the new benefits are aimed at gold and platinum level support customers. The update adds third-party support for popular operating systems running on Amazon EC2, along with support for a number of pieces of system software. It also adds AWS Trusted Advisor, which monitors customers' AWS use and recommends configuration changes and new services that could ultimately save money, improve system performance and plug security holes.

"If you have gold or platinum Premium Support, you can now ask questions related to a number of popular operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux, and the Amazon Linux AMI," wrote Amazon evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post highlighting the new support options. "You can ask us about system software including the Apache and IIS Web servers, MySQL and SQL Server databases, the Amazon SDKs, Sendmail, Postfix, OpenVPN, and RRAS. You can also ask for help with RAID, LVM, or FTP. A team of AWS support engineers is ready to help with setup, configuration, and troubleshooting of these important infrastructure components."

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AWS is also enabling desktop sharing software, giving users the ability to share their desktop with a support engineer.

Meanwhile, AWS Trusted Advisor leverages a library of best practices compiled by AWS.

"The AWS Trusted Advisor inspects your AWS environment and makes recommendations when opportunities exist to save money, improve system performance, or close security gaps," Barr wrote.

At launch, AWS Trusted Advisor will include eight separate checks and more will be added throughout the year, Amazon said. The checks fall into three categories: fault tolerance checks, security audits and cost optimizations. The eight checks are open ports, SIDR rules, reserved instance recommendations, unused elastic IP addresses, EBS snapshots, Amazon EC2 Availability Zone balance, elastic load balancer optimization and service limits. The checks are made using a subset of the existing set of documented AWS API calls, Amazon said, adding that Trusted Advisor does not have access to user data.

"Advice from the AWS Trusted Advisor is made available in several different forms," Barr wrote. "For certain issues, we will proactively create support cases and notify you that a given check has identified an opportunity for improvement. The AWS Support Engineers are also available to review AWS Trusted Advisor recommendations any time you call in for support. In the future a regular scorecard report will be available, as will an AWS Trusted Advisor Console with support for viewing, running, customizing, and even opting out of certain checks as desired."