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AWS partnersThe coming year promises to be one of great change for managed service providers that partner with Amazon Web Services.

At an AWS Global Partner Summit this week, AWS revealed that it is testing a standard Enterprise Contract that it created in collaboration with a total of 30 customer organizations and software vendors. The basic idea is to eliminate much of the haggling over software licensing that often delays cloud projects from being launched.

This new standard contract is scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2018. Third-party vendors participating in the program include AppDynamics, Barracuda Networks, CA Technologies, Cisco, Checkpoint, Chef, F5, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, Pitney Bowes, Snowflake, and Trend Micro.

New programs for AWS partners

In addition, AWS announced that it plans to replace its existing channel program in 2018 with an AWS Solution Provider Program. Much like other vendor programs, the new program will allow provider partners to gain certifications, also known as competencies, in specific areas. This week, AWS revealed that it has added machine learning and networking competencies to the existing channel program.

AWS also unveiled a preview of Private Image Build, which enables customers to build and run custom Amazon Machine Images that combine their own operating system images with software provided by vendors participating in the AWS Marketplace. There’s also a new AWS Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Factory program that provides sales enablement content and collateral for AWS technology partners selling SaaS offerings deployed on AWS. That program is scheduled to go into effect in early 2018.

Continued partner growth

AWS says that in total it added 10,000 new AWS partners to its channel program in the past year. Given the thousands of partners already participating in the AWS program, it’s clear AWS wants those partners to differentiate themselves in 2018 by specializing in specific areas. The good news is the growth needed to accommodate all those partners remains unabated.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy told attendees at the AWS re:Invent 2017 conference this week that the cloud unit of Amazon is on an $18 billion run rate for this year, representing a 42-percent growth rate that continues to dwarf other cloud service providers. In total, AWS reports customers are consuming 480 million hours a month for AWS services. In addition, AWS revealed that more than 160 thousand active AWS customers are using software that has been acquired and launched via the AWS Marketplace. In total, there 4,200 software listings from more than 1,280 software sellers across 35 categories.

Opportunities for MSPs

While customers are embracing multiple clouds, it’s clear that it might be years, if ever, before other cloud service providers can match the breadth and scale of AWS. Jassy told conference attendees that AWS added more than 1,000 significant new services in the past year, and that the company has plans to add another 1,300 in the coming year. That rapid proliferation of services creates an opportunity for MSPs that can help customers navigate all that complexity.

The challenge, of course, is the amount of time and effort now required by MSPs to master those services is substantial, which may explain why AWS is now so keen on having AWS partners focus their efforts on specific segments.

Photo: Willyam Bradberry/

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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