AWS Partner Network (APN)

What is AWS APN?

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) is a classification endorsed by AWS for a global community of cloud service providers and vendors once they have passed certain benchmarks.

The endorsed AWS Partners can participate in providing AWS cloud services and solutions for customers, while AWS offers the technology framework and marketing needed to build, execute and market these solutions.

Amazon divides the APN Partners into the following three categories:

  • type of service provided (technology or consulting);
  • level of expertise provided (Partner Tier); and
  • additional specializations (AWS Partner programs).

AWS Partners are strategic experts and builders who target a diverse set of customers, ranging from small businesses to public sector organizations.

What are the benefits of working with an AWS Partner?

The AWS Partner Network has more than 100,000 partners in 150 countries. Services offered by AWS Partners broadly include AWS cloud consulting, deployment, cloud migration, database, big data, security and managed AWS server services.

The following are some benefits and use cases of working with the AWS Partner community:

The right guidance. AWS-endorsed cloud architects have access to readily available resources and tools to build and provision solutions on the AWS platform. It can be difficult for organizations to decide which cloud services to use or how to secure their data and infrastructure in the cloud. Working with an AWS Partner removes the guesswork. Their experienced DevOps team can successfully deploy AWS projects in the cloud while saving customers significant time and money.

benefits of AWS Partner
Graphic showing the four benefits of using an AWS Partner.

Single point of contact. AWS Partners can be a single point of contact for customers for the entire project lifecycle. Since they are specialized in understanding specific business models, they can identify and resolve the current and future issues faced by customers. For example, if a project spans multiple technologies, a business might need to contact various vendors specializing in niche technologies. However, by selecting an AWS Partner, customers only need to contact the Partner instead of keeping in touch with numerous providers.

Focus. APN providers cover all the bases for a customer's cloud deployment projects, so they can focus on more important tasks, such as developing the software. The APN provider usually manages all the cloud services and is equipped with tools and visualizations to resolve any AWS infrastructure-related issues that the customer might experience.

Continuous optimization. Due to the rapidly shifting nature of applications, security threats, technological advancements and user behaviors, software development for a cloud computing platform requires constant optimization. An AWS partner ensures the software is optimized, manages the associated cost and predicts the required changes to keep up with the ever-changing IT landscape.

How to become an AWS Partner

AWS offers three tiers to recognize accredited organizations. Before joining an APN, businesses must select the Partner tier first. Additional benefits and resources can be locked in as organizations advance through the tiers.

The following are the three AWS Partner tiers:

  • AWS Select Tier Services Partners. These partners have trained and certified individuals with customer experience.
  • AWS Advanced Tier Services Partners. These include a team of trained and certified technical professionals who also have proven customer experience.
  • AWS Premier Tier Services Partners. These are the most experienced and recognized industry experts in their respective geographical, vertical or horizontal markets. They have demonstrated customer success working with many customers at scale and offer deep technical prowess with multiple program validations.

After deciding which tier to pursue, companies can embark on the path of AWS partnership by accessing the AWS Service Tier page and following the steps mentioned at the bottom.

AWS Partner Paths

AWS Partner Paths offer a flexible way for AWS-accredited organizations to improve their engagement with AWS, so they can meet the evolving needs of their customers. They help these organizations easily navigate through benefits, resources and programs tailored to the specific needs of their customers.

Upon joining the AWS Partner Network, organizations can enroll in the relevant Partner Paths by accessing the AWS Partner Central portal. Registration with the APN can be done at any time at no cost.

Currently, AWS offers the following five Partner Paths:

  • Software Path. This path is geared toward organizations developing software that runs on or is integrated with AWS.
  • Hardware Path. This is for organizations building hardware devices that work with AWS.
  • Training Path. This path is tailored toward organizations selling, delivering or incorporating AWS training.
  • Distribution Path. This path is targeted toward organizations recruiting, onboarding and supporting their partners to resell and develop AWS solutions.
  • Services Path. This path is for organizations delivering consulting, professional, managed and value-added resale services can pursue this path.

These paths represent consulting partners, professional, managed and value-added resale services. Partners can enroll in one or multiple paths based on their customer offerings. Organizations that are registered with the AWS APN get access to a dedicated partner portal that includes training discounts, business and technical enablement content, and programs and benefits relevant to their offerings.

AWS Partner programs

The Partner programs are helpful for organizations trying to start their AWS-based businesses or looking to expand them. These programs are designed to help companies co-sell with AWS, build their cloud skills and evolve their offerings.

The following Partner programs are offered by AWS and divided into three categories:

Programs for building AWS-based businesses

  • APN Customer Engagement (ACE). This program lets businesses securely collaborate and share sales opportunities with AWS.
  • AWS SaaS Factory. This program helps businesses during their software as a service (SaaS) journey. This may include building new AWS products, optimizing SaaS solutions or migrating existing applications to the AWS platform.
  • AWS Partner Transformation. This is a training and assessment program that provides AWS partners with guidance, acceleration and further development of their AWS cloud skills.
  • AWS Marketplace Channel. This program helps APNs expand their reach to customers, optimize costs, close customer deals and extend value to AWS customers.
  • AWS Device Qualification. APNs use this program to qualify their hardware for the AWS Partner Device Catalog. A wide variety of devices, such as development kits, embedded systems, cameras, edge servers, industrial PCs, PLCs and thin clients, can be qualified.
  • AWS Well-Architected Framework. This empowers organizations to adopt architectural best practices, reduce risks and build efficient applications.
  • AWS Trainer. This program helps businesses establish and distinguish themselves as an official AWS training partner.

Programs for marketing and differentiating AWS offerings

  • AWS Competency. This program helps businesses market, validate and differentiate their offerings to AWS customers.
  • AWS Service Delivery. This program provides businesses with the expertise needed to deliver specific AWS services to customers, such as running serverless code with AWS Lambda to deploying managed, secure, reliable and high-performing Windows-based solutions on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Windows.
  • AWS Service Ready. This program validates software products developed by AWS Partners that work with specific AWS services. Attaining this designation helps AWS Partners with the global promotion of their products.
  • AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP). This program validates the track record of AWS Partners and helps them provide end-to-end business solutions to AWS customers. To attain this designation, an AWS Partner must pass an extensive and independent audit to ensure the health and technical capabilities of their business.
  • AWS Database Freedom. This program is geared toward independent software vendors (ISVs). It enables the modernization of their software products so they can stay competitive in the market.
  • AWS Public Sector. This program validates AWS Partners in the public sector for having experience supporting government, education, space and nonprofit efforts across the globe.
  • Authority to Operate (ATO) on AWS. This program helps AWS Partners meet and accelerate their customer's security, privacy and compliance authorizations. These global customers may belong to industries such as healthcare, privacy, national security and financial services.
  • AWS Think Big for Small Business. This program is designed to offer support to small or minority-owned public sector businesses.

Programs to sell and grow with AWS

  • APN Customer Engagement (ACE). This program lets businesses collaborate and co-sell with AWS.
  • AWS Distribution. This program provides revenue opportunities for businesses by helping them resell AWS products and solutions by working with AWS distributors.
  • AWS Global Startup. This invite-only program supports mid-to-late-stage startups that are ready to scale. Partner development managers with deep AWS expertise are assigned to the qualifying startups.
  • AWS ISV Accelerate. This is a co-selling program geared toward businesses that provide software solutions that run on or integrate with AWS. It helps accelerate sales by connecting ISVs with the AWS Sales organization.
  • AWS Solution Provider. This program helps system integrators, MSPs, value-added resellers and public sector businesses resell and deliver AWS solutions directly to customers and end-users.
  • AWS ISV Workload Migration. This program targets AWS Partners that have a SaaS offering on AWS and helps them drive and deliver workload migrations.

What is the cost to become an AWS Partner Network?

All AWS Partner Network tiers require an annual APN fee of $2,500. Businesses can unlock access to differentiation programs, go-to-market resources and funding benefits to gain recognition with customers and grow their business.

Besides AWS, Amazon offers a wide breadth of services and membership options. Learn the features, fees and scope of the most popular Amazon offerings.

This was last updated in March 2023

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