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Amazon Gets Serious About Specialized Partner Certifications

In a world filled with IT certifications, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched several new AWS competencies that show just how serious the cloud services provider (CSP) is about MSP and channel partner relationships.

The effort starts with AWS Partner Network (APN), Amazon’s growing ecosystem of VARs, MSPs, cloud integrators, ISVs and more. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find Amazon’s MSP partner program. But the efforts don’t stop there.

Amazon AWS Partner Competencies

Three new Amazon partner designations — dubbed APN Competencies — are either arriving now or coming soon. They include:

1. APN DevOps Competency: It launched this week with 27 partners across software, services and solutions. While DevOps certainly isn’t a “product,” the competency may allow channel partners and customers to embrace best practices and business processes for sustainable software development and IT rollouts.

2. APN Migration Competency: This will launch in a few months, Amazon says. It will “enable and support partners who have deep expertise and experience helping customers migrate applications and entire data centers to AWS.” The focus areas will include infrastructure and application discovery, server migration, service monitoring, mass infrastructure migration, data migration and synchronization, enterprise application security and availability, and authentication management, Amazon said.

Perhaps most importantly, the migration competency isn’t about one-time revenue opportunities. Those service monitoring and security capabilities should drive recurring revenue for partners.

3. APN IoT Competency: Yes indeed, Amazon is expanding AWS to become a massive data management and monitoring hub for the Internet of Things (IoT). The APN IoT Competency is expected to launch in a few months. Amazon says it will include partners that provide IoT platforms, analytics, connectivity infrastructure, developer tools, operating systems, professional services, and vertical-focused IoT solutions. I’m particularly curious to know what types of sensor network vendors and partners climb on board.

Stop Doubting Amazon

Ever since I attended the first Amazon AWS re:Invent conference in 2012, I’ve been calling on partners to (A) stop building their own cloud railways and instead (B) ride the railways of major cloud service providers like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and Google Cloud Platform, among others. (You can also check out channel-friendly clouds like Artisan Infrastructure.)

My reasoning: Cloud infrastructure pricing will drop at a predictable pace for the long-term future. Instead of trying to compete on railway prices, channel partners should monetize the customer box cars — the cloud workloads — they place atop the railways.

Some small partners worry that they won’t have personalized, immediate access to Amazon support staff. But most of the sources I’ve heard from say Amazon has been very serious about continually enhancing partner support. And now, Amazon is equally serious about launching forward looking certifications and APN Competencies.

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