Amazon Web Services of today bears more than a passing resemblance to Microsoft of 20 years ago. It’s a powerful company that is dominant in its field , surrounded by hundreds (thousands) or smaller software vendors trying to bask in its reflected glow and hopefully make some money filling in the gaps in its product offerings. And, to borrow the phrase of former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, they are all trying to finesse the dangers of dancing with an elephant.
Day one of the second annual AWS Re:Invent conference was taken up by a hackathon, a raft of training sessions and hundreds of AWS-related press releases. Here are a few that caught my eye.
Mainframe 2, a startup that aims to run thousands of heavy-duty non-web Windows and Linux applications on HTML 5-supporting browsers without plug-ins, now supports Amazon’s fancy new GPU instance. That means customers can run CAD/CAM or even animation applications on low-end hardware provided they stream the goodies down from the AWS cloud. “For 50 cents an hour in infrastructure costs you can run all this software,” said Nikola Bozinovic, CEO of the Menlo Park, Calif. company.
StackDriver, the Boston company that helps businesses monitor and manage their AWS workloads by taking information from the AWS APIs as well as its own agents running in customer VMs is now adding visibility into the AWS cloud from outside. “As of now we are putting probes in other clouds that connect back into customer’s AWS load balancers or other resources to monitor AWS performance from outside clouds or websites,” said Stackdriver co-founder Dan Belcher.
CloudBees, the Java-centric PaaS that has morphed itself into a continuous deployment player, now integrates with Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk PaaS. That means folks that use Elastic Beanstalk to build and deploy applications can make sure those apps are always, always up to date and up to snuff, according to the Woburn, Mass.-based company. CloudBees goal is to push its CI into all the relevent public cloud PaaSes, said CEO Sascha Labourey.
Syncsort said its new Ironcluster data integration engine will bring ETL (extract transform and load) capabilities to Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR). The pitch is that customers can get one-click access to Ironcluster via the AWS Marketplace and pay as they go to clean up their data
All of these software and services partners are trying to fill the white space in Amazon’s own offerings. But as Microsoft partners of yesteryear can attest, that’s tricky business — those gaps can be closed pretty quickly by Amazon itself.