How to Choose the Right AWS Partner to Manage Your Cloud Infrastructure
When you chose Amazon Web Services for your cloud platform, you made a good decision. AWS remains on top because it continually improves and enhances its service provisions for its users. But it is a complex environment and one which many businesses cannot navigate with expertise.
Once data, apps, websites, and other infrastructure have been migrated, there is the issue of continued management, something that requires a solid level of expertise. Many businesses do not have this expertise in-house.
While AWS has its own support and automation for its users, it does not manage individual accounts. But it does understand the challenges and has established an AWS business model to meet the needs of its clients through a network of partners – organizations that meet its high standards for managed service providers.
What is AWS Partner Network?
AWS Partner Network serves a dual purpose. First, it’s a major business directory listing 1,000+ organizations that provide consulting and technical support to businesses that either want to move to the cloud or have already done so and need management or technical services.
AWS partner directory (APN) is the first place where 90%
of the Fortune 100 and most of the Fortune 500 companies search for solutions and services. Not to mention countless startups and small-to-mid-sized enterprises.
Secondly, AWS Partner Network is an educational program, aimed at helping all the ecosystem participants adopt, deploy and scale AWS solutions.
The goal is that service providers not only manage current client services but also anticipate their clients’ needs, educate them as to those more advanced services and assist them in their efforts to become proficient themselves. This is what Amazon sees as the next-gen of managed service providers.
AWS Partnership Types
There are two types of AWS partners – Consulting and Technology
Consulting Partners provide AWS professional services in areas of infrastructure design, migration and/or development of new applications.
A key member of the AWS partner ecosystem in this category include:
- AWS Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
- Resellers and Value-Added Resellers (VARs)
- System Integrators (SIs)
- Strategic Consultancies
- Digital Agencies.
Every partner is categorized into Registered, Standard, Advanced and Premier, depending on the level of accreditation they have earned.
Technology Partners are companies that provide tools that are hosted on, or integrated with AWS such as SaaS and PaaS tools, AWS development tools, management, and security offerings. AWS partner-level categorization is the same as for Consulting partners – Standard, Advanced, and Premier.
Note: AWS thoroughly vets all the contenders before adding them to their books. Every organization has to meet certain AWS partnership requirements to earn a respective cert level:
AWS Partner Specialties Explained
AWS partner directory has listings organized:
- by industry
- by desired solutions
- by types of services and workloads.
In general, AWS approved Managed Service Providers serve their traditional roles of designing, building, and implementing cloud migrations, as well as running and operating those existing environments. But, through education and their investigations, AWS customers no longer simply want the management of their current environment.
They want to move beyond the basics, and they want MSPs who can analyze their needs, make recommendations, and provide the expertise to bring greater agility, optimization, and innovation going forward.
Now that you have the basic background of AWS partnerships and what they offer, it is time to look at your options, your specific needs, and find your partner. Here are your tasks.
Choosing the Right Partner – 3 Factors to Consider
Look carefully at a potential partner, for the following three things:
1. Is this partner focused on the AWS platform? AWS ecosystem constantly evolves as the company releases new tools and makes continual improvements to existing ones. When choosing a partner, you’ll want an organization whose sole focus is on AWS rather than several major cloud platforms.
You want a partner who will keep current with all of the improvements and changes, or it cannot manage your cloud presence in the best way.
2. Review the competencies and certifications that your potential partner holds. As questions about how those relate to what your needs are. Partners have to invest in training and development to gain their certifications, and they should be continually adding competencies and certifications. Ask for the historical evidence of continual increases in certifications.
3. Look at the engineering team. What pro certifications do they hold? Current certifications include developer, architect, SysOps administrator, solutions architect, and DevOps engineer. While not all are critical to your initial management needs, they may become so. Choosing the Right Partner – Questions to Ask Before You Make a Partnership Decision
Certainly, you have questions to ask of any partner you are considering, such as those mentioned above. But before you even get into that, there are questions you need to ask yourself.
- Can you identify your goals?
- Do you want greater agility, faster time to market, adoption of new technology, and/or cost savings?
- Have you set your priorities for those goals above?
- These must be communicated to any partner you choose.
- Do you already have in-house AWS expertise?
- If so, what is that level of expertise?
- Do you want to secure in-house resources or use a wholly outsourced solution?
- If you plan to outsource, how involved do you want to be with management operations?
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