Amazon Doubles Down In The Cloud With APN

Amazon continues to expand its cloud empire, this time by launching the Amazon Partner Network Beta, a new partner program inviting the ISV and MSP to hop aboard together in expanding the Amazon Web services world.

Amazon is promising marketing and sales support, in addition to technical know-how, to help partners build out a successful business around the AWS network. Like many traditional partner programs, there exists a 3-tiered system: ‘registered,’ ‘standard’ and ‘advanced.’ Once qualified, partners will either be a APN Consulting Partner or an APN Technology Partner – the former, representing the VARs, MSPs and resellers of the world, and the latter for developers, ISVs, SaaS and security vendors. Both will have access to a few interesting perks, like $1000 in AWS premiums or regular services credits, public-partner designation and partner directory listing.

The APN Beta announcement has been followed up with the launch of the Amazon Web Services Marketplace, essentially a web portal allowing customers to directly buy Web services via Amazon, ISVs and other cloud vendors. It’s a public app store for the cloud, which begs the question: Is this move counter-intuitive to the APN Beta program?

Not particularly. As it stands, there is zero impact because the partner network won’t officially start until “later this year.” Amazon just wants interested parties to get a head start on qualifying. More realistically, Amazon’s AWS store launch is testing the waters to see how many potential customers will bite for this style of service. If a customer enjoys the features of AWS services, they may want to expand. At that point, it may become daunting for the single customer – that’s where the channel can come into play. Either way, Amazon will likely be feeding some big fish to its partners, especially because of the increased exposure for Technology Partners. What’s more, Technology Partners can even band together with Consulting Partners to uncover even more opportunities in the cloud.

This style of growth is what seems to have inspired the APN Beta in the first place. On the official AWS Blog announcing the APN Beta, the Firefox plug-in S3Fox is used as an example of how the ISV ecosystem increased awareness of the Amazon cloud. The popularity and usefulness of S3Fox attracted more users to additional cloud services, and Amazon is clearly looking to duplicate the same success in a much broader way.

Amazon has built a two-pronged attack into the cloud-hosting world, likely in an effort to ensure the health of the Amazon ecosystem, especially as many other cloud vendors continue to challenge Amazon’s cloud prowess. Amazon is smart to make these moves, and the inclusion of partners into the AWS world is still a win, especially since there could have been no APN Beta at all.

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