​Andy Jassy warns AWS has no time for uncommitted partners

​The storage giant's CEO has told partners AWS will be sending customers straight to the doors of partners who prove they are 100 percent committed to AWS.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor and  Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), has told a room full of partners on day one of AWS re:Invent, that those hedging their bets and dipping their hands in multiple pieces of the cloud vendor pie is not going to fly with the storage giant.

"The reality is, we are going to direct business to our partners who are committed and who really understand the platform because our customers want partners who understand the details of our platform," he said.

"I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't have other partners, that you should dump your other partnerships, but I am saying that I think a strategy of hedging is the wrong one for this time.

"And I think it's a losing one, relative to the partners who really get committed to the platform."

To Jassy, the problem with hedging bets across multiple vendors is that an organization never becomes a specialist, knowing instead only the bare minimum about multiple platforms.

"If I think about that type of behavior, and I contrast it with companies like Secondwatch, Splunk, or Cloudreach who have really committed to the platform, they are making disproportionate progress in their business because they're not just flitting at the top of the platform, they're deep in it," Jassy added.

"Those of you who really get committed to understanding the details and the breadth and the depth of the platform, are going to be the ones that help our joint customers the most and I believe will be the ones that have the most success as we go through the next couple of years where a lot of the playing field is going to be reshuffled."

The CEO elaborated that he is not expecting partners to innovate at the same pace as AWS, but asked instead that they are wholeheartedly aware of the services, features, capabilities that AWS has, adding if they do, he believes it will lead to the most amount of success for both parties and their customers.

"If you're really just focused on basic compute, basic storage, and basic database, you're moving the dinner chairs a little bit around as opposed to really changing the capability, agility, and flexibility of the cost structure that our joint customers have," he said.

"Partners know it -- there's a reason so many companies are choosing AWS.

"We are really, truly at a seminal time in the history of technology. This is not a time for the meek or the faint of heart."

While AWS is promising benefits to its partners who go all-in with its infrastructure, AWS' growing list of features can at times put the company in competition with its third-party partners. Still, some companies facing that scenario are nevertheless choosing to strengthen their relationship with AWS.

For instance, the data analytics software company Tableau announced Tuesday that Tableau Online is now available on the AWS cloud.

"Data's center of gravity is moving toward the could," Tableau's cloud strategy leader Ashley Jaschke Kramer, who previously worked at Amazon, told ZDNet. Nearly 70 percent of data used by Tableau Online customers comes from the cloud, and "there's no question a large amount of data... [is] coming from the leader in cloud right now, AWS," she said.

Running instances on AWS means those Tableau customers will see less latency and better performance. And as Tableau expands into different regions, Amazon's presence in 14 geographic regions means the software company will be able to move faster and more easily comply with local regulations.

Yet just last week, AWS made its own data visualization tool QuickSight generally available.

Kramer said that Tableau can still offer customers a more flexible data approach and also offers the most robust and optimized Redshift connector for analytics. The bottom line is that Tableau doesn't expect Amazon's offerings to hurt the two companies' longstanding relationship.

"There's no doubt the market for analytics is a big space," Kramer said. "It's natural AWS would take an interest in it, but it doesn't change anything with our partnerships."

Likewise, Qubole, which offers a cloud platform for big data, recently announced its services are directly through AWS Marketplace -- in spite of AWS's new auto-scaling for Elastic MapReduce (EMR).

"There are multiple solutions for different segments of the market," Qubole CEO Ashish Thusoo explained to ZDNet. "EMR is really a developer product... a lot of heavy lifting has to be done by the users themselves," he explained, while Qubole's platform provides more access to data scientists and others in the enterprise.

Thusoo said Qubole's relationship with AWS has evolved since they started working together in 2011, when there weren't as many collaboration opportunities.

"As our scale increased, AWS started to see the benefits of how a third party can also help drive a lot of compute and storage," he said. Qubole in particular serves as a driver of business from first-generation big data consumers.

In turn, Thusoo said Qubole can bring its point of view -- particularly as a major Spark user on AWS -- to discussions with Amazon as it works on its own product roadmap, to the benefit of Qubole customers. And of course, it helps to have a partner with a similar vision.

"Both companies believe cloud is the infrastructure of the future and on premise is something of the past," Thusoo said.

Disclosure: Asha Barbaschow travelled to AWS Re:Invent as a guest of AWS.

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