AWS Exec: We Need More Rock Star Managed Services Partners With Cloud Skills

Amazon Web Services has been working with a handful of managed service providers for some time, and now it has a formal program aimed at getting more highly skilled ones waving the AWS flag.

The AWS Managed Service Program, unveiled at AWS' re:Invent conference earlier this month, is for existing AWS consulting partners that work with cloud infrastructure and know how to migrate on premise apps to the cloud.

MSPs have long provided remote monitoring and management services for customers' environments. But AWS is looking for ones that can deliver higher level services like orchestration and automation, Terry Wise, director of the Amazon Web Services worldwide partner ecosystem, told CRN in an interview at re:Invent.

"We don't have enough partners in the ecosystem who really understand -- and can deliver -- cloud managed services," Wise said.

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Partners with expertise in Devops, a term that describes how developers and IT operations teams are collaborating closely to speed software deployments, are also a good fit for the AWS Managed Service Program, according to Wise.

[Related: 13 Weird, Wacky And Downright Funny Sights From The AWS re:Invent Conference]

MSPs that join the AWS Managed Service Program get access to technical support, training and marketing resources. More importantly, these MSPs are earmarked by AWS' field sales organization as partners the company should be working with to serve top clients, Wise told CRN.

AWS partners that join the MSP program, and adhere to the best practices the vendor has developed for engaging with customers, will have a chance to expand their scope of business, Wise said.

"Do these things with us, and you will win the hearts and minds of our field organization, which is now substantial," said Wise.

Jeff Aden, co-founder and executive vice president of business development at 2nd Watch, a Seattle-based AWS partner that's taking part in the MSP program, said many enterprises are looking for help in moving workloads to the cloud.

"We typically take over the managed services portion of that for our enterprise customers. This includes keeping a service catalog live and updated with new AWS services," Aden said.

2nd Watch recently partnered with New Relic, an application performance monitoring startup that recently filed for an IPO, to package this function with its managed services offering, Aden said.

Partners that only resell AWS cloud services aren't going to make much money unless they're doing huge volume. But with the AWS MSP program, these partners now have a chance to step up their game by adding new skills.

While there's a significant up-front investment involved in acquiring these skills, Wise said partners that join the MSP program will have a chance to diversify their businesses, while also making more money.

"The winners in this space are the [partners] that are making their revenue streams larger by moving up the stack and providing infrastructure managed services, application managed services, selling software licenses and doing strategy and security architecture," said Wise.