When will AWS, Azure or GCP support hard limit or prepaid accounts?

Cloud platforms like Azure, and AWS, and GCP provide new-user free tier accounts that help people get started in the cloud. They have no low-cost or capped offerings after that short period. They all expect you to move to uncapped fully metered pay-as-you-go services after that.

This makes it hard for data scientists, developers and architects is how to stay current and innovate without running the risk of financial catastrophe. 

I don't want to go bankrupt while experimenting

We're talking about relatively small non-production use cases.  The dollar limits on these could be capped to relatively small amounts.

I recently accidentally provisioned a dedicated Azure Event Hubs cluster that burned through my fixed $150 credit in 1 day.  The account ran up a $400 bill before Azure caught up and shut down the subscription. 

The hard cap meant I was dead to Azure for a month but not dead to my spouse for spending our mortgage payment.

After the time-limited free tier

The time-limited free tier is a great teaser for onboarding.  It rewards new users without providing anything to the people that are probably living in that ecosystem at work.

The forever free tier

Most of the cloud vendors provide some forever free services.  These are super valuable for training and prototyping.  Most of them provide a partial solution and have to be paired with uncapped pay-as-you-go.  We really need a capped or prepaid capability that lets us work with this tier fo services after the first year.

Today's offerings

Microsoft seems to be the only company that offers accounts that can be spending capped.  They just make it difficult to get them.
  • Microsoft bundles fixed amounts of Azure credits with their Visual Studio support packages.  Services turn off when those hard limits are reached giving the person a chance to tear down or change unexpectedly costly deployments. 
  • Microsoft also has a prepaid credit plan that is available only with certain license types.  Those licenses require third-party cloud provider actions making this a ridiculously complicated transaction in the age of direct-to-consumer operations

Cloud ProductDetails
Azure StandardMetered with no limits
Azure Open LicensePrepaid credits available - cost capped
 Services stop when credits consumed
 Complicated sign-up involving 3rd parties
Azure MSDNMonthly limits - cost capped
 Services stop when credits consumed
 Fixed amount based on bundle
 Only bundled with other services
GCPMetered with no limits
AWSMetered with no limits


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