Look out below! Amazon offers free trial of Trusted Advisor monitoring tool

Here we go again. Amazon(s amzn) is offering a month-long free trial of its Trusted Advisor cloud services monitoring tool. That may seem like ho-hum news for rank-and-file Amazon Web Services observers, but for a half dozen or so small companies that hoped to make their living providing similar services, this freebie is a big deal.

News of an updated version of Trusted Advisor — complete with new features and its free trial (for the month of March) — was unveiled on the AWS blog early Monday morning. Before now, Trusted Advisor was available to customers who signed up for enterprise or business class AWS support.

According to the blog, Trusted Advisor looks over a customer’s AWS environment and makes suggestions on how to save money, boost performance and shutter security gaps:

“Because the AWS Trusted Advisor draws upon the aggregated operational history of hundreds of thousands of AWS customers, you can be confident that the recommendations that it makes can help you to save money, bolster your security profile, improve the fault tolerance of your application, and increase overall performance. This is a unique and powerful benefit that is only possible with cloud-based, API-enabled infrastructure.”

trustedadvisor1Meanwhile, companies like Newvem, Cloudyn, Cloud Vertical and Cloudability have to be more than a little worried about this new tool, although they’d be the first to tell you that their own respective offerings watch and measure AWS better than Amazon itself does.

A Newvem spokesman characterized the freebie as big news for AWS users and “a great value as a broken-to-fix support play as in something is wrong with my security, I’ll use Trusted Advisor to fix it.” But, he added, Newvem provides more insights on how to improve a user’s AWS resource usage and to evaluate costs, risks and assets. Newvem started charging for its service late last year.

trustedadvisor2Amazon’s news is a no-brainer for a company that knows it needs to provide more enterprise-class support and monitoring options to placate enterprises used to having such tools, as GigaOM reported last summer. But it also illustrates the issue that, to grow, Amazon is encroaching more and more on spaces pioneered by small members of its ecosystem. Being an AWS technology partner is a risky proposition that is not for the faint-of-heart or the slow-of-foot.

What about the little guys?

Usually, when small companies characterize a huge company’s incursion into their territory as a validation of their strategy, it’s time to pat them on the head and offer condolences. In this case, however, there is some truth that a smaller, more nimble third party (aka Newvem, Cloudyn, et al) can offer more value.

As Forrester Research analyst Dave Bartoletti told me last month with regard to some Cloudyn news:

“Amazon’s tools will get better and better but Amazon has no desire to get you to use less of its services. It’s like in storage — You’d think EMC would be the best vendor of storage management but historically they haven’t been.”