Complexity of Pricing PaaS

In the early days of PaaS, the focus was on simplicity.  Simplicity of using the platform, developing apps, getting services and pricing. “No bill shock” was the mantra that almost all PaaS players embodied. However, those days of idealism and transparency are long gone.

In a desperate effort to differentiate for each other, PaaS players have added a lot more services and reengineered both, their platforms and their pricing.

Figuring out how much it will cost you to move your apps to PaaS is more difficult now than actually moving the darned app!

About 4 years while working on CloudFoundry price, I did some research on what the competition was charging. It was difficult and I had to make a lot of assumptions but I had a pretty good idea of what it takes to host an application on a competitor’s platform. Here it is

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Now, it is more difficult. I am yet to calculate the price for Heroku (it is confusing to me) and I am not considering EngineYard for this round. Here’s a quick take on 3 major players – GAE, Azure and AWS (yes, I know EBS is not real PaaS but lets consider it anyway).

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Like cars, pricing PaaS with options has become really difficult, if not downright impossible. The vendors are trying to keep things complicated to avoid a price war but enterprises are still working to do their own research before they pick a platform. After talking to a few startups and enterprise IT workers, I found that AWS becomes the default choice because it is a “safer bet” in every way, especially pricing.