Last week's AWS re:Invent conference, which drew 19,000 members of the Amazon community to Las Vegas, introduced a barrage of features coming down the pipeline of the world's largest cloud. But kicking off the massive conference was a slightly more intimate affair bringing together a few thousand AWS channel partners.
The Global Partner Summit is always first on the re:Invent agenda, and Terry Wise, Amazon Web Services vice president of alliances and channels, delivered a keynote sharing seven additions to the channel program intended to create opportunities for partners to drive more business.
Those include new certifications in DevOps, security, Internet of Things and migrations; broad investments in the channel ecosystem; dedicated instances that should lure owners of perpetual licenses (especially Microsoft Windows); and even Amazon's recognition that hybrid clouds (gasp) exist and seem to be here to stay.
Four years ago, Jeff Aden, executive vice president of marketing and strategic development at 2nd Watch, an AWS Premier Partner based in Seattle, attended the first re:Invent Global Partner Summit -- a far more modest gathering than the one last week.
"It probably had less than 500 people in the room," Aden said. At that time, "what stood out was that partners were realizing this is a viable option. Customers were asking for it."
A lot has changed since 2012 -- AWS being a "viable option" might be the biggest understatement in the industry. The public cloud's phenomenal success since then is the reason "now everyone from mom-and-pop shops to the big guys are trying to enter the ecosystem," Aden told CRN.
Among Wise's announcements was a new DevOps competency, which 2nd Watch officially added to its credentials on the same day of the partner summit.
"It's how we think about our business. We have guys who live and breathe that with our clients," Aden said of DevOps. "Managing automation is a big part of what we do."
The formal certification ensures "one voice around products and services internally and with customers," Aden said. "They hear from Amazon what they hear from us."
Another AWS partner that's made big inroads with its DevOps practice is Flux7, an Austin, Texas-based systems integrator.