AWS Summit: New Cloud Avenues Open Every Day

Solution providers attending the AWS Summit breakout session said they are beginning to see a solid uptick in customer requests for help in managing the cloud.

"At first they are fearless," said Alex Roosakos, principal at Fog Horn Consulting, of companies getting involved in cloud computing. "But once they start scaling, or when something goes wrong, the complexity starts amping up, and they find themselves in need of help. That's where my company comes in. We can offload the whole infrastructure piece from them, and give them the time to do the things that are more in line with their skills."

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Smaller solution providers, however, face challenges in trying to address customer needs without the benefit of a deep bench, according to David Rudolph, founder of Pixta, a Novato, Calif.-based solution provider.

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"Customers sometimes get nervous because we have their whole business in our hands," he said. "They want to know what happens to them if we go out of business. That's the million-dollar question. We're looking at a lot of ideas, including the possibility of putting our code into escrow. We really need to find a good answer to that question and when we do, we're probably not going to share it with anyone besides our customers. There are a lot of channel partners struggling with this one."

Solution providers shouldn't forget about opening the door to the opportunities presented by big data as well.

Ron Bodkin, CEO of Think Big Analytics, a Mountain View, Calif.-based solution provider, said that the vast quantities of data, combined with the need for business agility, mean companies will need help navigating the technology, as well as making the underlying business decisions.

"Helping them to organize and to better automate the processes provides a huge value to customers," said Bodkin. "Enterprises are adopting [big data] as a means of becoming more competitive. There are a lot of diverse offerings, and a lot of innovation. Customers are asking for guidance and support, as well as help with training, testing, engineering and integration."

AWS claims more than 4,000 partners across more than 70 countries in a market that was worth an estimated $6.2 billion last year and is expected to scale to more than $24 billion by 2016, according to market research cited by Terry Wise, AWS' global head of worldwide partner ecosystems.

"Customers need a lot of help and there is a huge business opportunity for partners who are capable of driving transformational projects," said Wise. "Many of these projects can range between $50,000 and $250,000 in consulting fees."