back to article AWS offers you the opportunity to pay cloud bills before they’ve been issued

Amazon Web Services has started allowing its customers to pay in advance. As the name implies, a facility called “Advanced Pay” will let you send money to Jeff Bezos before your bill for cloud services has been issued. “Once you add funds to Advance Pay, AWS will automatically use them to pay for your invoices when they become …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    WTF?

    The year 2005 called but then it said "no signal"

    This sounds like an old cellphone or cable Internet contract. You pay a ton of money in advance and then hope you get your product. If you don't get your product, the fine print will explain how that's exactly your fault and how you're now in debt for violation of the contract.

  2. FILE_ID.DIZ
    Pirate

    Why get in the way of relieving people of their money in advance?

    An initial search found this interesting thread going back a over a decade.

    Ed: I like the follow-ups... being from the future, this just reminds me how little we matter to companies like Amazon even back in 2010 when we communicate through their forums.

    There's more here once I refined the search further.

    Looks like a combo of people who have to pay per transaction fee(s) and people where its easier for them to authorize $1K for cloud services in one go versus $80 one month, $120 the next, $90 the following and so on and so forth but don't want to commit to their annual offerings.

    It's the best of both worlds for Amazon, per second rates AND money up front.

  3. Stu J

    Interesting...

    One regular gripe AWS has been dealing with for years has been the fact that there's no foolproof way to stop sandbox/dev accounts from accidentally running up massive bills. I wonder/hope if this is the first step towards accounts where you don't have to attach a credit card, and when your balance hits zero, your services switch off and your costs stop rising...

    Would mean they could potentially do away with the Free Tier, reduce the pricing of the lowest tier of each service to compensate, and credit new accounts with $200, or something like that.

    Fingers crossed...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Interesting...

      I think the free tier is quite well structured, but yes please to a sandbox/capped account... not that I've had a painful experience recently, oh no, definitely not ;)

    2. RobLang

      Re: Interesting...

      If your devs use containers then there is a newish service called AWS Lightsail, which is a fixed monthly fee. Not using it, just passing on info.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Interesting...

      Their explanation always have been that they are unable to figure out how much your are going to pay in real-time wink wink.

      My view is that they shouldn't have been allowed to operate like this in the first place.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Public Sector Budgets

    In the UK Public Sector, if you don't spend all your budget by the end of the financial year it all gets taken back to the central Borg bank account. So departments like paying in advance for things (especially in March ) as you get to "keep" the money.

    1. sgp

      Re: Public Sector Budgets

      I always understood this as: if you don't use up this year's budget, next year's will be reduced. Which as a whole, I can't quite understand.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Public Sector Budgets

        The theory* is that you asked for too much money this year so you'll need less next year.

        * That's Bean Counter logic, BTW, not mine.

    2. Ashentaine

      Re: Public Sector Budgets

      I figured that was the main reason anyone would use this, as a way to safely dispose of any surplus operating budget so the beancounters don't try to claw it back at the end of the year. And if they still complain then the scorn can be easily shunted up the ladder because hey, it was the boss/department manager/board members who were always banging on about how putting everything in the cloud would save us so much money, wasn't it?

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Public Sector Budgets

      It's the same in the US. It's amazing how much money is shoveled out in the last weeks of the budget year.

      No, amazing isn't the right word - disgusting is.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Public Sector Budgets

        The public complains if money is thrown away.. so if you didn't need the money they assume you will not need it next year. And to prevent being punished... You use it.

        Happens everywhere and yes it is stupid.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Public Sector Budgets

        I think this is why many suppliers have odd offerings. Office supply stores have drinks and snacks. Some computer supply houses have all manner of things since it's easy to stick it on an open account. Since the budget may be refreshed in a week or so, go for it.

    4. The Boojum

      Re: Public Sector Budgets

      And in the UK it's always interesting to see the number road repairs happening in March.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Public Sector Budgets

        Round our way the flowerbeds in the roundabouts get replanted.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Advance Pay

    Put money on your account, and have that used to pay for your server. In other words, the same functionalty every game server provider has been offering for more than a decade now.

    Wow. AWS has finally rejoined 2010. Impressive.

  6. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Holmes

    Lightbulb moment!

    Giga-corp remembers one of the few ways to rake in money without having to do anything first.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Whatever happened to cloud being a super way to preserve cashflow?

    It preserves and enhances AWS' cashflow quite nicely.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone had an on-prem -> cloud migration...

    ...that actually saved any money at all.

    Moving to cloud is not the cheap option by any means.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone had an on-prem -> cloud migration...

      It's a complex calculation. If you outsource, that fee is an expense for taxes. If you buy a load of servers, drives and other hardware, you have to depreciate it over several years. This can mean gear that's out of service due to age but still having to be depreciated. You also have to take on staff to operate it and comply with all of the laws that entails. Some locations penalize employers if they take on extra staff and then lay them off when the work is done. Other places a person is nearly guaranteed perpetual employment after a certain period of time if they aren't embezzling from the company and aren't killing anybody on the board. Doing a co-worker might be ok in terms of continued employment.

      I'm not a fan of outsourcing. It's risky and if the business can't fund all of the tools it needs to operate, there is a question of whether it's really viable or not. I had a manufacturing company for years and we went through the analysis on all of the things we thought we might send out. It wasn't just a financial decision either. Certain processes were key to our product's quality and not easy to inspect from an outside supplier. If they substituted the high temperature solder we used for the common alloy stuff, we'd be hip deep in returned product and take a massive reputation hit. It was rather pointless as that step was something done daily. If we couldn't hire people to do the work at a wage we could afford, how could another company at a price that makes them competitive including their profit margin? When you have an investor that comes from the business world, you have to work extra hard to get them doing correct analysis.

      1. FILE_ID.DIZ

        Re: Has anyone had an on-prem -> cloud migration...

        One thing that always gets me is depreciation (seriously, I don't get it).

        In my feeble mind, whether your organization is responsible for depreciation or the organization that you're leasing stuff from (anything from cars to servers to heavy equipment), someone is on the hook for that, right?

        If so, at the end of the day, the end user of the whatchamacallit is paying for that depreciation, either directly or indirectly. The only difference is the side of the ledge it falls on, I guess.

  9. johnnyblaze

    I'll say it again, nobody ever saves money moving to the cloud, and now they want your money in advance! Cloud services are convenient for a very good reason, and act like a revenue waterfall for the providers. The cloud would even exist if these mega-corps weren't making money hand over fist, and the bonus is, they get your data at the same time, which for many, locks you in, so you keep paying - forever!!

  10. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Tax at source

    What if Amazon had to include how much of the invoice are their itemised operating costs and then make them do a split payment with Corporation Tax at source?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useful for grants

    This will be very useful for academic research grants that want multi year sustainable outcomes e.g. hosted via cloud services but don't let you spend past the end date of the grant. Cloud Vs on prem now becomes an option.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Useful for grants

      We had this issue and we went to digital ocean.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    Seems familiar

    Where have I seen this before? I mean, beside the cable TV, phone, power, water, insurance and Internet companies?

    Why does everyone think I'm joking when I say the ideal American company is one where customers pay and receive nothing in return?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Seems familiar

      "Why does everyone think I'm joking when I say the ideal American company is one where customers pay and receive nothing in return?"

      With many companies, one gets very little return so they are getting ever closer.

  13. scrubber

    2001 cable

    Get funding for a terrible blockchain, bitcoin, cloud, disruptive idea, pre-buy lots of AWS, go bankrupt, buy dismembered corpse at discount and get lots of free AWS for your new venture.

  14. xyz123

    Step 1. Pay AWS a bucketload of cash for "future service"

    step 2. wait until the following tax year

    step 3. cancel said services.

    step 4. Money is laundered as "an expense" and can be fed straight into the CEO's pocket

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just like failing to get your tax exemptions right...

    ...why would anyone choose to give Amazon an interest-free loan so *they* can earn interest on it before it's used to pay your bill?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised

    I run a saas business and many of my customers have requested a pay in advance option because they don’t want automatic recurring charges, and they don’t want to lose service with missed payments. Also recurring payments are not that reliable, and many people don’t want to worry that they’ve missed payments while going on vacation or not watching things that closely. They won’t lose service that quickly with a missed payment but the idea does bother some. They’re not the majority but these people do exist, especially SMBs in developing countries where they’re not always in love with automatic recurring charges.

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