The AWS cloud storage appliance has implications for cloud competitors such as Microsoft, which entered this space by acquiring Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup StorSimple last October.
IBM, which is in the midst of an AWS-bashing advertising campaign, partners with TwinStrata and Riverbed for cloud-integrated storage hardware.
VMware, which pitches its vCloud Hybrid Service as a seamless bridge between the enterprise data center and its public cloud, also has made cloud storage a priority and is working on its own disaster recovery-as-a-service.
Jamie Shepard, regional vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based VMware partner, sees the AWS storage appliance as a bid to build trust with enterprise customers. Lumenate sells the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, and Shepard said AWS will need to enlist the aid of its channel to win share in this hotly contested space.
"AWS will have a long way to go to be able to accomplish this. They will need architects in the field, real people, they will need the help of the channel, allowing them to architect, sell and make good margin -- perhaps white-label themselves like we have done with others," Shepard told CRN.
AWS already has a footprint in the data center through its partnership with NetApp, which was unveiled last November. Under that arrangement, NetApp private cloud storage hardware is integrated with the AWS cloud, allowing workloads and data to travel securely back and forth.
Avnet, which partners with both AWS and NetApp, is handling pricing and distribution for the NetApp hardware, and only partners of both vendors can sell it.
Sources told CRN NetApp and AWS are very close these days. "Amazon people love to talk about NetApp, and there is a lot going on [between the two vendors] at the channel partner level," one source with knowledge of the matter told CRN.
PUBLISHED DEC. 2, 2013