Partners Of Split Mind On AWS Managed Services--Some See Potential For Channel Conflict

Amazon Web Services launched this week a managed services offering that had been in the works for several years. While MSP partners knew something along those lines was coming, some say the new offering lays the groundwork for channel conflict and muddies the waters around where they should plant their flags.

AWS Managed Services delivers a toolkit that enterprises can use to manage their AWS infrastructure, as well as some services—monitoring, incident investigation—provided directly by Amazon's internal engineers.

The product is geared for Amazon's largest customers—multinational corporations that by all accounts are looking to avoid contracting with MSPs and have been clamoring for a product to free them from doing so.

[Related: 6 Key Things To Know About Amazon Web Services' 'Sentinel' Managed Services Offering]

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The "service is designed to accelerate cloud adoption," wrote Jeff Barr, Amazon's chief evangelist, in the AWS blog. "It simplifies deployment, migration, and management using automation and machine learning, backed up by a dedicated team of Amazon employees."

CRN first reported in April on development and beta-testing of the toolkit for automating tasks that traditionally are included in the catalogs of managed services partners. The project, at the time code-named AWS Sentinel, was in response to some of Amazon's largest customers expressing interest in managing workloads in a self-service fashion, said many sources.

Some partners concede that desire among multi-nationals, but believe Amazon has to tread carefully to avoid creating channel conflict.

"I think the fact they're getting into this business is not a positive thing for partners, whichever way you put it," one partner, who wished to remain anonymous, said. "Working with AWS you should know by now as a partner, especially on the technology side, that they eat into your business as they grow."

Amazon has many times in the past launched products that directly competed with those from ISVs, essentially gutting their businesses. For those technology partners, the name of the game is trying to stay ahead of AWS, the partner said.

"None of that has affected us on the consulting partner piece until now," the partner said. "Am I surprised, no. Am I a little peeved. Yes. But it's business."

Partners have been quietly talking amongst themselves since AWS Managed Services was made available on Monday, and sentiment in Amazon's channel is divided, said Jamie Begin, CEO of RightBrain Networks, an AWS MSP partner based in Ann Arbor, Mich.