In recent weeks many experts in the AWS community have been advocating for sandbox accounts on AWS adding hard billing limits that cannot be exceeded to let engineers experiment with new services without affecting their personal well-being.
Forrest Brazeal, director of content & community at A Cloud Guru and AWS Serverless Hero, wrote the popular article “Please fix the AWS Free Tier before somebody gets hurt” that was triggered by a message on the A Cloud Guru Discord server.
Forrest Brazeal is not the first AWS expert raising questions about the Free Tier, as reported by InfoQ last September. Corey Quinn, cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, reacted to the recent events writing:
“It would appear that I’m not the only person who has lost patience with AWS’s free tier scaring the crap out of newcomers with large bills. (…) It’s rare that AWS billing is a life-or-death situation; the day that changes is a watershed moment that there’s no coming back from. If I’m AWS I’d be treating this as a raging fire in the building. I hope they are”.
AWS Support documents how to avoid incurring charges when using the AWS Free Tier and has multiple times proved to be supportive and reimburse the accidental charges, but there is currently no way to set a hard limit on billing. Microsoft offers a spending limit functionality turned on by default to all new customers who sign up for an Azure free account or subscription types that include credits over multiple months. Users running on the Google Cloud free program are not charged unless they explicitly enable billing by upgrading the Cloud Billing account to a paid one.
The growing number of services and options on AWS will likely increase the request of safer options for developers moving their first steps on the cloud or testing new services.
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