For data warehousing startups, Amazon is both friend and rival

Here’s the thing about being an Amazon(s amzn) Web Services software partner: you’re going to be competing with Amazon Web Services.

Case in point: On Wednesday at the AWS: Reinvent show, Amazon announced the preview of its Redshift data warehousing service to considerable hubbub — pitching it as a much-less costly competitor to Oracle(s orcl), IBM(s ibm), Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) and Teradata(s tdc) solutions. A few hours later, startup BitYota got up on stage to plug its data warehouse-as-service running atop AWS. You see where I’m going with this, right?

BitYota CEO Dev Patel

Now, BitYota CEO Dev Patel, a former Yahoo(s yhoo) exec, says there are data warehouses and then there are data warehouses. Bityota built its Software-as-a-Service offering from the ground up with its own technology and crafted it so users won’t have to sweat how to configure compute instances or storage. And doesn’t include Hadoop, so it will sport a performance advantage there. And they won’t have to hire Hadoop eggheads, who are expensive and hard to find.

BitYota, which just disclosed $12 million seed and Series A funding from Globespan Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and others, uses Amazon EC2 compute, elastic block storage (EBS), but the rest is its own technology. A preview of AWS Redshift, which licenses technology from Paraccel, is available now. Companies can use existing analytics products from MicroStrategy, Jaspersoft, Cognos with Redshift, Andy Jassy, AWS senior vice president said at AWS: Reinvent on Wednesday.

BitYota and Redshift aren’t the only Amazon-based data warehousing games in town. Treasure Data also runs on Amazon infrastructure.

One thing is clear: Data warehouses in their current incarnation are big and expensive to build and maintain and these cloud providers all see opportunity disrupting that apple cart. “I wouldn’t want to be Vertica right now,” said one wag at the show, referring to the data warehousing company HP bought last year.

But perhaps a bigger question for these startups running atop AWS is whether their platform provider will be more of a competitor than a partner going forward.