Why AWS Marketplace is changing the software industry

The launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006 revolutionised the concept of technology infrastructure. AWS Marketplace is marching along the same path to transform the way software is sold and deployed.

As Amazon consistently pushes out innovative products on AWS, the enterprise software world sees the AWS Marketplace as a thriving environment for their customer deployments. Marketplace has improved the software search and implementation process for consumers and will likely change the way we think about software in the years to come.

How AWS Marketplace became a $1bn platform

There are a number of reasons why Marketplace became the Apple Store of infrastructure as code. Most importantly, the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) standard enabled software vendors to publish pre-built EC2 images into the AWS Marketplace with optimised environments for their products to run smoothly and efficiently. For more complex deployments, AWS Marketplace vendors can also leverage CloudFormation templates to deploy servers, network components, databases and storage to support their software.

This means software on Marketplace is fundamentally different from traditional software: no software installs, no lengthy configurations, and of course no custom hardware to support it. It is software in line with how engineers consume resources on the cloud.

Software on Marketplace is also less risky to adopt from a business standpoint. AWS Partner Orbitera worked with Amazon to offer AWS Test Drive, a combination of AWS infrastructure, software installation and licensing, and free usage time that allows customers to experience solutions offered by ISVs and AWS Consulting Partners before actually buying them. Test drive packages range from simple content management systems to complex, highly secure solutions comprised of products from several vendors. Solutions are made available as AMIs, CloudFormation templates, or instant connections to a SaaS service hosted on AWS. Test drives are browseable by industry, software vendor, and by specific AWS regions offering the test drive.

The AWS Marketplace, along with Test Drive, have turned the often labyrinthine process of purchasing and licensing enterprise software into something far closer to Amazon’s roots in e-commerce.

Marketplace has also required software vendors to simplify licensing, a welcome change for most IT consumers. To showcase their wares in the Marketplace, software vendors must sign contracts with Amazon to sell their products at set prices, without the confusing EUAs and SPLAs of the pre-cloud era.

There are over 2,200 products in the Marketplace now, and that number is increasing at a rapid rate. This past year, AWS expanded the reach of the Marketplace from data center products to a suite of managed desktop products, called Workspaces. With Workspaces, businesses of all sizes can access secure, managed desktop computing tools, including hosted email and all popular business software products from a wide variety of hardware platforms.

At the 2015 AWS Summit in San Francisco, Andy Jassy, head of AWS, boasted that AWS is now not only the fastest growing enterprise IT company in the world, but that it is the only company showing double-digit year over year growth. The AWS Marketplace may be the fastest growing part of the overall offering at this point, contributing about a billion dollars to the AWS revenue stream.

Innovators on the marketplace

Innovation on the Marketplace is driven by AWS Partners. It is likely that these partners will be the ones to help large Fortune 1000 enterprises move to AWS.

For example, look at Logicworks’ partner New Relic, who offers its software in the Marketplace with two different methods of delivery. Existing New Relic customers are offered an AMI that can be activated with pre-configured dashboards ready to immediately monitor their AWS environment. New customers can set up an account on their SaaS portal to begin monitoring their deployed applications.

CloudEndure offers AWS Migration and Disaster Recovery tools in the Marketplace with SaaS-based delivery. The fascinating thing about CloudEndure is that it can literally take a virtual machine and clone it into AWS with no impact on the source machine. It is one-click DR. This will be revolutionary for enterprises looking to migrate to the cloud.

While the Marketplace contains great products, the sheer quantity of vendors on the Marketplace can be overwhelming for consumers. That is why Consulting Partners have become increasingly valuable for enterprises. Last month, Amazon added Consulting Partners to the Marketplace alongside software vendors and resellers, further strengthening the Marketplace as an enterprise-grade e-commerce channel.

As AWS continues to innovate and launch exciting new computing products for its customers, the software partners featured in the Marketplace will continue to build the best possible products to run in the AWS public cloud.

Amazon is focusing on innovating in the right areas, especially mobile development (they announced AWS Device Farm last week) and database. They wisely leave specialised migration, DR, monitoring, etc. tools to partners. Together, AWS and the AWS Marketplace will shape what we expect – and get from – software vendors.

Do you feel that AWS Marketplace is changing the software industry? Let us know in the comments.