Amazon, seeking to relieve partner angst, launches partner program

Amazon(s AMZN), the provider of public cloud services which have — at times — made its technology partners nervous, is launching an official partner program.
The new AWS Partner Network, (APN) targets ISVs, SaaS companies, tool and platform providers as well as consultative partners like systems integrators and agencies. The goal is to provide them with the technology information and services they need, according to a post to the AWS blog.
APN, now in beta, mimics the types of partner programs that are common among older-school tech vendors like Microsoft(s msft), IBM(s ibm), Oracle(s orcl), etc. Partners will be divvied into Advanced, Standard or Registered tiers. Benefits will include logos, a listing in a partner directory and credits to be used for services or support.
Amazon is the leader in public cloud service by a wide margin, but is facing new competition as more OpenStack players come on line.  OpenStack, backed by dozens of tech companies, can brag on a huge ecosystem. Amazon also has partners but the company’s power and the addition of higher-level services that sometimes compete with its PaaS, CDN and database partners, has caused uneasiness in the ranks.
Last month, Amazon signed an alliance with Eucalyptus, a provider of private cloud technology favored by businesses, in what seemed to be an acknowledgement that business users are loathe to put critical workloads or data in a public cloud.
As of now, Amazon is just asking prospective partners to sign up. Later this year, the program will be activated and partners in each tier will be publicly designated, receive their credits and be billed for program fees, according to the program FAQ. It was unclear what the fees for each tier will be.
To be clear, Amazon has been working with partners for years. In response to a question on a related story a month ago, a spokeswoman said Amazon has:

“…partnerships with the largest systems integrators including Deloitte, Capgemini and Accenture and there are also hundreds of regional and smaller SIs who have built practices around AWS. We also work with the largest ISVs like Oracle, Red Hat, IBM, SAP,, Lawson, SAGE, Novell and Dassault Systemes, to those who have built their offerings from scratch on top of AWS such as Engine Yard, Heroku, Sonian, Rightscale, etc.”

What’s new now is Amazon is making those partnerships programmatic. As leading tech vendors get bigger, they invariably add services and products that compete with those of their partners. Microsoft, typically cited as a partner-friendly company, nonetheless irked ISV partners by adding more features and functions to its software that partners used to provide. Amazon is clearly now navigating these seem tricky waters.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mel B.