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AWS Enables ISVs To Validate Containers, IoT Devices

Technology partners can now demonstrate their containerization solutions and edge devices integrate effectively with AWS services through new APN partner programs

As partners gravitate toward container and Internet of Things practices, Amazon Web Services is looking to enable third-party technology vendors to validate their solutions with its cloud services.

At the Global Partner Summit on Tuesday that kicked-off the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, AWS Channel Chief Terry Wise unveiled new container certifications and IoT device validation programs for ISVs developing those technologies.

The new AWS Container Competency allows ISVs to show their container products integrate seamlessly with AWS services across three categories: foundation, monitoring and logging, and security.

[Related: 5 Things To Watch At AWS re:Invent 2018]

Containers are increasingly a de facto standard for deploying new applications and refactoring legacy ones for a cloud environment, Wise said. They have become the mechanism of choice for building micro-services architectures, big data and machine learning applications.

A who's who of container vendors—17 in all—are already participating in the new APN program, including Docker, HashiCorp, Mesosphere, Pivotal, Red Hat, Spotinst.

From consulting partners with IoT practices, a common request has been to make it easier to identify well-vetted devices that work with AWS cloud, Wise said.

To that end, AWS is launching the AWS Device Qualification Program, which allows hardware and silicon vendors to self-validate their devices.

Those manufacturers can take advantage of the AWS IoT Device Tester to test their products, and those meeting Amazon's criteria for integrating with its IoT platforms and cloud services will show up in the new AWS Partner Device Catalog.

That catalog already lists more than 140 devices pre-validated to work with AWS services, and will greatly expand next year.

Wise told thousands of partners at the Global Partner Summit that Amazon's channel ecosystem is growing, even as its consolidating.

"Were seeing a healthy merger and acquisition environment in the partner community," he said, citing deals like Hitachi Ventara buying REAN Cloud, which itself bought 47 Lining.

Deep specializations are increasingly important to driving successful practices, he said, and hybrid cloud is one area where partners are differentiating their capabilities.

The standout service in that arena is VMware Cloud on AWS. But other partnerships, from Red Hat, Pivotal, Pure Storage, and Cisco, which is delivering its Kubernetes platform on AWS, are also driving hybrid AWS practices.

Amazon's partnership with VMware is "as strong as it's ever been," Wise said.

Hundreds of customers have signed up for VMware Cloud on AWS, looking to move applications to a more-flexible and cost-effective operating environment and extend their VMware infrastructure with AWS native services.

More than 200 channel partners, like RoundTower Technologies, have satisfied the requirements for the VMware Cloud on AWS competency program, he said.

Customers also are increasing demand for managed services, and the APN now has 115 certified MSP partners, with their practices growing twice as fast as the rest of the business.

Partners are also driving large-scale cloud migrations, with four-times growth in "partner led mass migrations" year-over-year, Wise said.

Much of that work is migrating away from "punitive, expensive, difficult" databases and onto Amazon Aurora. (AWS CEO Andy Jassy later joined Wise for a chat on stage where he made clear for anyone who wasn't sure that those "old guard" databases are Oracle and SQL Server.)

AWS also sees a rapidly growing Windows business that's largely led by partners.

Wise cited recent IDC statistics that reported more than 57 percent of Windows workloads running in the cloud were running on AWS—compared to about 31 percent on Microsoft Azure.

To further accelerate container deployments, the cloud leader launched the AWS Marketplace for Containers, where customers and partners can find and buy container-based software from over 35 vendors, David McCann, vice president of Amazon Web Services Marketplace and Catalog Services, told attendees.

McCann also introduced Private Marketplace, which allows enterprises to create custom software catalogs featuring software products available on AWS Marketplace.

Large companies want to curate approved products and vendors that they publish to their teams, he said.

Wise also told partners that the Amazon Partner Network is changing the name of its Standard tier—the second rung from the bottom—to Select. As part of that change, he said AWS is updating some program criteria and introducing a new benefits package.

Francesco Paola, Chief Strategy Officer at Unitas Global, an MSP that partners with AWS, said the new container certification program is an important step "to separate the chaff from the wheat"—allowing customers to identify the best resources available to them when adopting that technology.

Paola came to Unitas, headquartered in Los Angeles, through the acquisition of his prior company, Solinea, which established an early Kubernetes practice.

"Containers and micro-services are important for enterprises to adopt. Becoming more efficient at managing your infrastructure is a must if you're going to gain agility and long-term cost savings benefits," Paola told CRN after the GPS keynote.

"If you look at containerization and Kubernetes, all of these new ways to create micro-services very quickly, that just becomes a huge cost saving, but also a huge intellectual property accelerator for organizations because these containers create very interesting compute workloads that apply to different use cases depending on how you build and apply them," Gene Villeneuve, senior vice president of Tehama.io, a business unit of AWS partner Pythian, told CRN.

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