Creating and maintaining a corporate app store: Strategies for success
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In April 2012, Amazon Web Services launched AWS Marketplace, a one-stop spot for finding software that runs on AWS. Today, AWS Marketplace contains 37 categories that include software infrastructure, business software, desktop software and developer tools.
The online store is among AWS' fastest-growing services, regularly adding new technology partners that seek to fill service gaps or otherwise appeal to AWS' many customers.
But how does AWS Marketplace work? And what can you expect to find there? These frequently asked questions and answers shed some light on the expansive AWS Marketplace.
What is the AWS Marketplace?
Amazon describes AWS Marketplace as "an online store that helps customers find, buy and immediately start using the software and services they need to build products and run their businesses." It also serves as a new sales channel for software vendors.
What drove AWS to create its online store?
Amazon said customers have been asking for faster, better ways to find and deploy software running on AWS. In a blog post, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels wrote, "The way businesses are buying applications is changing. There is a new generation of leaders that have very different expectations about how they can select the products and tools they need to be successful." Specifically, he said, Amazon created AWS Marketplace to meet customer demands for choosing software "in a way that was completely in line with the 'cloud experience:' no software to install, no sales cycle, no procurement delays and [with] a selection of licensing models to choose from."
Who can shop at the AWS Marketplace?
Any customer with an AWS account can shop in AWS Marketplace. Customers should be familiar with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances before purchasing vendor software.
What types of products are sold on AWS Marketplace?
The store offers commercial software products targeted to companies and developers, as well as open source software. The four major product categories include:
- Software infrastructure, which includes OSes, security, migration and big data tools;
- Developer tools, such as issue and bug tracking, monitoring, source control and testing;
- Business software in categories ranging from business intelligence to collaboration to e-commerce to storage and recovery; and
- Desktop software, which includes Microsoft Windows desktop applications for accounts payable and billing, media and encoding, project management and other Windows apps.
Software sold in AWS Marketplace is available to run only on Amazon EC2; it's not available for download.
How does AWS Marketplace work?
Customers pick the preconfigured software they want to buy and launch it immediately using AWS' 1-Click Deployment, which provides a similar experience to the 1-Click Ordering option available to consumers on Amazon.com. (If customers prefer, they can skip the one-click installation and develop the software using their own tools.) Their purchases are available either via SaaS or as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI).
What is an AMI?
AWS describes an AMI as a template with a software configuration for the customer's server -- for instance, an OS or an application server. In the case of AWS Marketplace, an AMI is a template carrying the information needed to boot an Amazon EC2 instance with the customer's software.
How does AWS Marketplace customer billing work?
AWS Marketplace offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model. For paid software, customers pay only for what they use, either by the hour or by the month, scaling their usage as needed. Charges from AWS Marketplace are integrated into each customer's existing AWS bill.
Who sells software in AWS Marketplace?
Vendors are members of the AWS Partner Network, the AWS global program for its technology and consulting partners. They include independent software vendors, value-added resellers and systems integrators.
What companies currently use AWS Marketplace?
Participating SaaS vendors include CA, Check Point, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and SAP, among many other large and small sellers. Open source offerings include Drupal, MediaWiki and WordPress.
How can I become an AWS Marketplace seller?
According to Amazon, vendors completing a seller registration must sell publicly available software that fits into one of the store's supported categories. Vendors must also have "a strong track record of customer satisfaction" and provide tax information for paid AMI products. They must demonstrate strong, clear business operations and ethical practices. They must place high priority on keeping their products up-to-date and virus-free. And they must verify that the AWS cloud hosts and runs their software on EC2 instances.
How does AWS Marketplace handle vendor payments?
Amazon handles billing for all software purchases and manages payouts to participating vendors. When an AWS customer purchases vendor software, the cloud provider adds the cost to the customer's AWS bill. Sellers can apply several different pricing models to their software, including bring your own license, free, hourly, monthly and usage-based billing. AWS might charge seller fees depending on the pricing model a vendor chooses. The AWS Marketplace seller guide contains a full list of vendor guidelines and recommendations.
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