LAS VEGAS—Back when Microsoft ruled the computing world, it was in large part because a huge number of partners and developers committed to the Windows operating system platform.
These days that power resides with Amazon Web Services and its growing army of technology and consulting partners, which AWS feted during Tuesday's Partner Day, before the Wednesday kick-off of its Re:Invent customer conference.
AWS made a ton of announcements around new services and competency programs available to partners to build up their own expertise and their ability to build cloud services for their customers.
The first announcement was about its partnership with VMware for the VMware Cloud on AWS. Version 2.0 includes new capabilities for disaster recovery and migration of VMs into the AWS cloud. The service has been expanded to the U.S. East Region and with it the ability to run and fail-over applications across availability zones.
The AWS hybrid cloud service also supports VMware Live Migration, for moving VMs while they are still running. There's also a new tool, Hybrid Cloud Extension, due in February 2018 for large-scale migrations of VMware workloads.
AWS also announced a technology preview of AWS Greengrass running on vSphere, which enables event-based Lambda functions on internet of things or connected devices.
Siemens is another partner that is expanding rapidly its IoT services in the AWS cloud. On Nov. 28, Siemens announced MindSphere, a platform as a service built on the AWS cloud that enables enterprises to build IoT applications with full use of AWS services.
AWS also introduced a new competency program to spotlight partners that have done interesting work in certain areas. The first competency program, focused on machine learning, was announced Nov. 28 with 17 partners, including Databricks, C3IoT and Alteryx.
"Since we launched [conversation bot service] Lex last year, over 75 percent of revenue on it is being delivered by AWS partners," said Terry Wise, AWS vice president for worldwide alliances, channels and ecosystem.
"Customers are coming to us and asking who are the best partners in the Partner Network delivering machine learning solutions? You [partners] are leading the charge on voice recognition and natural language processing," Wise said during his address at the partner event.
Also announced on Nov. 28 was a Networking Competency program. Other competency programs are coming in the next year for system integrators and consultants, end user computing, Blockchain and containers.
Surfing the Channel
AWS announced a series of programs for channel partners who resell AWS services as well as ISVs (independent software vendors). The AWS Solution Provider Program, which is rolling out through 2018, includes a new contract model, a new tiered incentive structure and more flexible support options from AWS.
Software vendors who use the AWS Marketplace to sell their wares also got something to help them serve their own customers better. AWS Privatelink is technology that enables software-as-a-service vendors to enable their applications to run in AWS and make them accessible through a secure link without going through the public internet.
AWS Marketplace, where ISVs host software that will work in AWS, now serves 160,000 customers and runs more than 480 million hours of EC2 compute instances every month, said Dave McCann AWS Vice President for AWS Marketplace and Service Catalog.
The ultimate aim of Marketplace and Service Catalog is to redefine the way vendors deliver and enterprises consume software, McCann said. AWS is expanding the services with programs that include go-to-market funding, free trials and ISV "Success Managers.”
AWS will also roll out the AWS SaaS factory for sharing best practices with ISVs; AWS SaaS Validation, for testing SaaS apps running out of AWS for optimization and security, and AWS SaaS Acceleration to rapidly deliver SaaS apps to customers.
Some of the best partners are actually customers. Pacific Gas & Electric, a California utility with 10 million customers, is adopting a cloud-first approach on AWS, said John Nichols, Director of Enterprise Technology for PG&G.
To get there, Nichols had to change the culture as much as the technology and put himself along with other technologists and developers at the company through AWS certification programs. Where AWS was once confusing, "Now we really get it, and it's huge," he said. "We want to get out of the data center business altogether."
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.