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At the end of November, AWS held its first-ever global customer and partner cloud-focused event, re:Invent. re:Invent cemented that partners will play an even larger role going forward than they have since AWS was launched in 2006. According to Terry Wise, AWS director of Global Alliances, Ecosystem and Channel, in the last year, AWS has doubled the number of partners in its ecosystem to more than 4,000.
While in the past, many of those partners were software developers tuning their applications for AWS' Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering, a growing number are managed services providers such as Datapipe and systems integrators such as Capgemini, Wipro and Cognizant.
Equally important, despite some high-profile outages this year, AWS has aggressively tackled the reliability and security issues that were standing in the way of its enterprise readiness. Combined with its SI partners, AWS is also adding considerable strength to its enterprise go-to-market capabilities. Some estimates are that today as many as 30 percent of AWS customers are large enterprises and that most Fortune 1000 companies are running production workloads in AWS.
Now it's true that creating and nurturing an IT ecosystem where everyone wins was much simpler in the Wintel heyday: PCs were "the next big thing," the Internet was in its early days, and innovative consumer technology was a Sony Walkman. There was no cloud, no Facebook, no iPhone or Android, no mobile apps and no app stores.
But giving credit where credit is due, Microsoft and Intel were masterful at partnering to provide a platform upon which hardware OEMs, software developers, mainline distributors, VARs and SIs could innovate and thrive. And there is nothing like a monopoly to sustain growth and profits.
Still, I think there are three main reasons why AWS could lead the next great IT ecosystem.