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Gold-plated support comes to Amazon Web Services

It's no longer just about tiny Web start-ups.'s premium-support offering is aimed at businesses used to around-the-clock support.

Looking to take on more demanding customers, Amazon Web Services on Thursday rolled out two paid-support plans that give customers access to its engineers to resolve glitches.

The company said it will offer two levels of support--gold and silver--for a fixed annual fee or a percentage of customers' total usage of its services. The support plans are available for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage Service (S3), and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS). For more details on the terms, click here.

Right now, Amazon offers pay-as-you-go pricing for its hosted services. Customers pay for how much they use the service. To get support for technical problems, they need to go to free forums.

The paid support is a sign that Amazon's hosted computing is ramping up to take on a broader swath of clients, including large businesses.

Initially, Amazon aimed the hosted service at Web start-ups, but it's signing on business customers too. BusinessWeek reported earlier this week that The New York Times and Nasdaq are now customers.

The support service also casts Amazon more in the mold of traditional IT providers such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems, which all offer a variation on hosted computing.

"Guaranteed support will also allow us to develop even more substantial applications using Amazon Web Services, knowing that Amazon is there to support us," Paul Horvath, chief technology officer of health care form-processing company TC3 Health, said in a statement.

Update on Friday: Link added to Amazon Web Services support terms and costs.