With Its New Marketplace, Amazon Web Services is Becoming the Next Microsoft


Amazon Web Services Marketplace launched this morning. It’s a comprehensive service that makes the company a full-fledged app seller with the undoubtable potential to move further up the stack and become the next Microsoft.

The move furthers AWS lead in the cloud marketplace and shows how its approach is different than most Infrastructure as a Service (IasS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers.

AWS provides the infrastructure and the marketplace, integrating the two to create a service that provides a foundation for reaching into the enterprise market. Its “app first” approach puts it far ahead of the competition. VMware, HP, the OpenStack effort, Cloudstack and the multitude of other IaaS and PaaS providers do not come close to this integrated AWS offering.

The AWS Marketplace offers software infrastructure, developer tools and business software. The billing is centralized, the apps are well-organized and can be deployed immediately. It’s a pay-as-you-go service. Apps can be managed programmatically. It’s not perfect by any means. The deployment process is still quite manual and it lacks features such as automatic update. Hello, Urban Airship?

Apps are the new rage as much as software packages had all the buzz in the 1990s. Just about any IT service can be offered as a service. But they are so dispersed that adoption has been mostly ad hoc.

AWS has the capability to be the place for discovering and deploying apps. The ISVs are critical to that strategy.

Like Microsoft, to truly dominate, AWS needs a channel strategy to reach the enterprise. To do that, AWS is targeting independent software vendors (ISV), said Krishnan Subramanian, founder of Rishidot Research.

Onboarding ISVs gives AWS a channel to sell into small and large companies. The goal is to work with ISVs to gain enterprise adoption for the apps offered in the marketplace itself. The marketplace also serves as an incentive for ISVs to use AWS for hosting custom apps.

The missing link is a developer platform for the ISVs. To fill that hole, AWS will most likely build one out.

“Once they have a platform, they will move ISVs to their services,” Subramanian said.

Equinix is a study in contrast to AWS, Subramanian said. The data center operator maintains a private marketplace for its customers that offers apps and services. In a Cloud Ave. post, Subramanian writes that “Equinix customers can sell anything from network bandwidth to storage to compute to SaaS to content. It is a general purpose trading platform for their customers.

Equinix could easily make the service public as Subramanian also points out in his post.

But where is everyone else? Way behind. That’s why companies like BitNami have reason to rejoice over the AWS Marketplace launch.

BitNami makes apps available by bundling all of the needed components. On AWS Marketplace, BitNami offers WordPress, Drupal and dozens of other apps that can be used on a pay-as-you-go basis.

My bet? BitNami will work with other PaaS providers to help them build out their own marketplace.

BitNami CEO Erica Brescia said in an interview today that AWS gets the fact that most companies just need another server more than anything else to deploy more apps. The AWS marketplace makes that possible.

“AWS Marketplace will drive the next wave of cloud computing adoption,” Brescia said.

Amazon can exploit this weakness in enterprise cloud services by offering a marketplace that tethers to the AWS platform. It puts them in a position to compete in the channel against the likes of traditional enterprise solutions providers that have historically held sway over ISVs.