How Will 'Sentinel' Be Greeted In Amazon's Channel?


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In the decade since its launch, Amazon Web Services has nurtured a large and vibrant ecosystem around its league-leading cloud. But a product being developed to offer the largest of customers a toolkit capable of automating services traditionally provided by partners is stirring debate in the channel.

As CRN first reported Tuesday, AWS is working on a new offering -- code named Sentinel -- that will let large enterprise customers manage and monitor their public cloud workloads in a self-service fashion.

CRN's sources said AWS is developing Sentinel because some of its large multinational customers don't want to work with managed service providers and would rather manage their workloads independently.

[Related: Sources: Amazon Web Services Poised To Enter Cloud Managed Services Market With New 'Sentinel' Product]

Some partners told CRN they're worried that Sentinel could intrude on the turf of MSPs. Still others believe the product won't step on toes because it targets customers that aren't inclined to work with partners to begin with.

One partner told CRN he fears Sentinel is a harbinger of greater troubles down the road.

"We're starting to see some cases where conflict is not being resolved," he said of the relationship between the world's largest cloud provider and its channel. "There's conflict in pricing, support, technology delivery." 

Other partners have a more resigned view.

Getting upset about AWS' innovations "would be like being angry about the inevitability of the ocean tide," one partner told CRN. The cloud provider is just following the market, leveraging their technology to meet the needs of their customers, he said.

An insider told CRN that Amazon has been working on an MSP offering since around 2013. In October 2014, the domain "aws-sentinel.com" was created and administered by Stephen Farrell, which is also the name of an AWS cloud support engineer based in Ireland, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

Negotiating overlap with its partner community isn't a new challenge for AWS. There have been instances where independent software vendors built tools for the platform around instance, security and network management, and then Amazon was so impressed with their functionality that it created similar offerings.

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