LAS VEGAS—Amazon Web Services kicked off its 2016 Re:Invent conference with its annual Global Partner Summit here at the Venetian, touting several new and expanded programs for vendors looking to sell software, solutions or services around the AWS cloud.
“Topping the news is an integrated partner program built around VMware and AWS, an extension of the relationship the two companies announced in October 2016. In that deal, AWS will offer tools to VMware customers looking to shift workloads to AWS. Today's news will extend those tools to VMware's large partner ecosystem when the virtualization technology company rolls out the service next year.
Another major initiative is based on the Amazon Echo device with its Alexa voice-activated personal assistant. AWS is offering help partners obtain the development skills needed to build voice functions into their applications along with go-to-market strategies.
Hand in hand with that is a new internet of things competency program, an initiative in which AWS certifies partners on integrating edge devices, gateways, platforms and connectivity services on the AWS cloud.
The growing AWS partner ecosystem includes technology partners like Tableau and SAP as well as consulting partners such as 2nd Watch, Accenture and Cloud Technology Partners.
Speaking at the Summit, Terry Wise, AWS vice president of global alliances ecosystem and channels, said the consulting partner business grew 110 percent over last year and the managed service provider business grew 130 percent year over year.
Other partner initiatives include a public sector partner program to serve AWS's growing number of government customers, with more more than 400 partners participating, including Accenture and Booz Allen Hamilton. There is also a Service Delivery competency program to help partners become experts in 15 select AWS services, such as databases. There is also a competency program for financial services customers.
AWS is working to further build out its AWS Marketplace, which enables vendors to offer their wares directly for consumption on the AWS cloud. The Marketplace now has 3,500 listings from 1,100 vendors, with more than 100,000 customers, said Dave McCann, vice president of AWS Marketplace. AWS is integrating its API Gateway directly with Marketplace to enable vendors to build and add their APIs to the Gateway, which includes all of the services of the Gateway, such as metered consumption pricing.
For next year, AWS is working to improve its Partner Solutions Finder, to offer a better connection between customers and partners ranked by competency, with references and use cases along with a one-click direct connect feature.
In his concluding remarks, AWS CEO Andy Jassy made a direct appeal to partners to take advantage of this moment in time, when uncertainty may breed cautiousness.
"We are really truly at a seminal time in the history of tech. It's not a time for the meek or feint of heart. The partners who will be the most successful are the ones who can keep pace with the innovation," he said. "We encourage you to learn about what we are doing and figure out a smart way to build capabilities into your own offerings that will benefit customers."
Citing the Broadway smash musical "Hamilton," Jassy told partners to be less like Aaron Burr, who refused to take risks and who said it was safer to see where the wind blows, and be more like Hamilton, who said what was the point of a revolution if we don't put our stamp on the world.
"The same situation applies here," he said. "I'm not suggesting to dump partners, but a strategy of hedging your cloud strategy is just wrong for this time. Those committed to understanding the details of the AWS platform will help our joint customers the most and will have the most success in the coming years."
Editors Note: This article was updated to correct the date that VMWare and AWS announced an extension of their partnership.
Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.