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Amazon Courts Partners as Cloud Growth Escalates

Not always seen as the most partner-friendly cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS) today took a key step toward trying to reverse that perception.

The company has formed the AWS Partner Network, a program aimed at supporting a wide cross-section of partners, including ISVs, third-party cloud providers (including SaaS and PaaS), systems integrators, consulting firms and managed services providers (MSPs).

"Partners are an integral part of the AWS ecosystem as they enable customers and help them scale their business globally," said AWS technology evangelist Jinesh Varia in a blog post announcing the new program. "Some of our greatest wins, particularly with enterprises, have been influenced by our partners. This new global program is focused on providing members of the AWS partner ecosystem with the technical information, and sales and marketing support they need to accelerate their AWS-based businesses."

The move comes as one of AWS' largest rivals, Rackspace Hosting, has expanded its partner program this year amidst the growing influence of the OpenStack Project it has championed.

But Amazon's actions also reflect the unrelenting growth of its cloud business, which will need experienced partners to help expand its footprint. In the latest measure of how expansive AWS is becoming, one estimate suggests it is carrying 1 percent of Internet traffic, according to a report in Wired today. Citing a study by startup DeepField Networks and some of its network provider partners, Wired determined one-third of all Internet users will access content or data residing on at least one AWS cloud.

To cover the various constituencies, Amazon has created two partner categories: technology and consulting. Depending on the requirements they meet, partners will qualify for one of three tiers: registered, standard and advanced. Certified partners will be able to display an AWS logo and receive a listing in the AWS Partner Directory and $1,000 credits for service and premium support.

The program is currently in beta and Amazon plans to have it up and running later in the year, though existing partners can prequalify for the standard and advance tiers now. To do so, partners must submit Amazon's APN Upgrade form.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on April 18, 2012


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