AWS ramps up partner focus, launches API and mobile dev tools

A new SaaS partner program aggressively goes after software providers, encouraging them to build their services on top of the AWS cloud -- which would embed AWS in multiple enterprise accounts.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

When Amazon CTO Werner Vogels took the stage at Thursday's AWS Summit in New York, he was quick to focus crosshairs of his keynote away from Amazon. His target: AWS partners and customers.

Touting success stories is not a novelty in keynotes, but Vogels' strategic buildup tied directly into one of AWS' big announcements of the day. The cloud darling launched a new global partner program to encourage the AWS partner network to build Software-as-a-Service applications on AWS.

The SaaS partner program is significant because AWS is aggressively going after software providers to build their services on top of its cloud. If successful, AWS will be directly or indirectly embedded in multiple enterprise accounts.

"Today we have moved away from infrastructure to also focus on platforms," Vogels said. "This broad set of services is really important for our customers."

AWS says the program provides business and technical content -- including articles, white papers, and reference architecture -- to boost productivity and efficiency for partners, as well as SaaS webcasts and office hours.

ISVs Looker, Qlik, Sumo Logic, and Works Applications are committing to AWS as part of today's program launch. They join existing AWS partners Acquia, Emdeon, IMS Health, Informatica, Infor, MicroStrategy, Onshape, Pegasystems, Software AG, Splunk, and TIBCO.

Another big announcement from Thursday morning's keynote is the launch of the Amazon API Gateway. The fully managed, pay-as-you-go service allows developers to put APIs into all of the software that they build. Developers can connect all types of applications to API implementations that run on AWS Lambda, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, or a publicly hosted service outside of AWS.

"Putting APIs on your application is not a trivial thing to do," Vogels said. "I can not emphasize enough what a game changer the API Gateway is going to be. A web of services is really how the world is going to look."

Productivity and Mobile

AWS also announced that its CodeCommit managed Git repository service and CodePipeline continuous delivery tools are available for companies to use. Both services were teased during the AWS re:Invent conference last fall, but have not been made widely available for use until today.

The CodePipeline tools are the latest in a slew of productivity services Amazon has pushed out to improve connectivity for its customers, so they no longer are stuck tacking together software tools from multiple vendors. The tools somewhat tie into the AWS Service Catalog, which was also made available today. It gives IT departments the ability to browse listings of products that they have access to, locate the one that they want, and launch it.

Amazon also reiterated its commitment to producing tools for mobile, announcing a new managed service to enable mobile app developers to test environments on real smartphones and tablets, all within the AWS cloud.

Named Device Farm, the service helps developers configure apps and devices to meet various testing requirements. The tests produce detailed report logs that lump together failures and pinpoint faulty code. Developers can then dive into the logs with filters to slice and dice the output of the test to get a feel for what is going on.

Like other AWS services, Device Farm offers a free tier for 250 devices or less; after that pricing is 17 cents per device minute, or a flat fee of $250 per device per month. Competing services in the space include Google's recently revealed Cloud Test Lab, and also one from Xamarin.

In other AWS news, managed hybrid IT provider Datapipe rolled out a new security collaboration with cloud security provider FortyCloud. The joint service, called 2Factor Secure Cloud Access, is designed to help enterprises secure their AWS environments.

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