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Most public cloud infrastructure and service providers have a concept of credits. Credits are incentives typically given to customers opening up new accounts to attract them to build upon their platform. They allow you to build, learn, and integrate into providers without having to spend money right away.

Credit allotments usually are around $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the provider, but can be as high as $100,000.

Startup Credits Across Clouds#

One strategy that is often used for especially cost-conscious startups utilizing public cloud infrastructure providers, who have the ability to easily move workloads, is to receive credits from multiple providers and run workloads across different providers until credits expire across all of them. So for example, a startup may get $10,000 of AWS credits and $10,000 of GCP credits. A subset of customers will run their application on AWS until their $10,000 is completely utilized then migrate to GCP to use up $10,000 worth of credits there to get $20,000 in total free usage.

Typically, this is advised against because the operational overhead of running workloads across multiple clouds typically isn't worth it. The use cases that this tends to work for are very transferable or ephemeral workloads such as training models on GPUs or running containers with no associated state.

Credit Expiration#

It's important to note that credits typically have a lifecycle tied to them that causes them to expire. Oftentimes, this catches customers by surprise. Usually, credits are granted on a one-year basis, which means if you have remaining credits that aren't utilized by the expiration term, they're automatically removed from your account. It's important to keep track of your credit expiration dates, so you are not caught off-guard.


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