Amazon’s Free Usage Tier

Yesterday Amazon announced its new AWS Free Usage Tier.  The announcement says that this tier will include:

  • 750 hrs / month of compute instance
  • 750 hrs / month of Elastic Load Balancer
  • 10 GB Elastic Block Storage
  • 5 GB of S3 Storage
  • 30 GB data transfer (caveats: 15 GB each for ingress & egress; CloudFront excluded)

Additional caveats or restrictions include:

  • Availability is limited to new AWS customers only
  • Ends one year after registration
  • Requires a valid credit card during registration
  • Only available with the smallest compute instance, micro Linux ECS

So, is this a really big deal?  Is it reshaping cloud computing?  Well, not really.  Some quick calculations indicate that the offering is worth about $450 over 12 months, but that assumes leveraging each aspect to its full free level (e.g., using 5 GB of S3 Storage each month).

That’s no small amount for many individual developers.  Developers working in companies or on teams will probably find the limitations too tight to be useful in their environment.

From a competitive stand-point, Amazon’s new offer isn’t much different than Microsoft Azure’s Introductory Special offering.  Azure also has additional month-to-month plans and developer subscriptions.  (Full disclosure: I haven’t researched AWS developer pricing options)

UPDATE: Also see PK’s post on this topic

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