AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy Blog

AWS Marketplace Continues to Make Using the Cloud Easier

When I oversaw my first data center migration to AWS in 2013, my team had just eight weeks to complete it. The data center we were in was being evacuated and repurposed for something other than data center space, and we didn’t have time to re-architect the systems running on the hundreds of servers in that data center for the cloud. We were committed to exiting the data center business, and didn’t want to take on another data center investment. We were confident that we had the skills to lift-and-shift and run just about everything in that data center, save for the Citrix load balancer and the Riverbed WAN accelerator that my team convinced me we couldn’t migrate off of in time. Our DevOps team found the software equivalent of the same load balancer and WAN accelerator in AWS Marketplace, spun up some instances, migrated the configs from the devices running our data center, and we completed the migration in six weeks. This was one of the many ah-ha moments in our Journey, and when I become convinced that the AWS Marketplace was going to change the way IT is going to be procured forever.

That’s why I was so excited that AWS Marketplace team asked me to share their latest product launch with you on my blog. Without further ado, here it is:

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AWS Marketplace is all about simplifying the procurement and deployment of software on AWS. That’s great for any AWS user, but it’s been especially appealing for enterprise users, for whom procurement can be a very lengthy process. Now, a new feature from AWS Marketplace has made things even easier for enterprises looking to quickly launch AWS software.

AWS Marketplace in a nutshell and why it needed to evolve

If you’re not familiar with AWS Marketplace, here’s how it works: To ease procurement for Enterprise IT, AWS Marketplace lists popular 3rd party software for sale by independent software vendors in a marketplace, lets you subscribe to software products from within the AWS Marketplace console, and then adds the software fees associated with your purchase to your monthly AWS bill. Even better, hundreds of vendors offer hourly pricing, so you can pay as you go when testing their software, often easing procurement hurdles and speeding time to market.

For users struggling with the technical side of AWS deployment, AWS Marketplace offers 1-click deployment using pre-configured Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), reducing time-to-deployment from weeks to minutes. For those who are migrating to AWS, AWS Marketplace even offers bring your own license (“BYOL”) pricing for certain products, so you can migrate to AWS, easily launch your existing software through AWS Marketplace, and do it all while keeping your existing licensing agreements.

Until today, users were limited to deploying single-instance AMIs when procuring through AWS Marketplace. In certain cases that’s not a problem, but for some users, particularly enterprise users, being limited to single AMI deployment has held back the migration of production workloads. That’s because while a single AMI with Amazon EC2 is fine for testing and POC, it may not cut it for the realities of production deployment.

For enterprise production deployment, the job often requires launching multi-instance clusters that are compatible with a variety of AWS resources (e.g., Amazon Redshift, Amazon S3, Amazon RDS). The result is that some enterprises use AWS Marketplace for testing with simple deployments in staging, only to fall back on traditional and cumbersome deployments without the benefit of AWS Marketplace for production.

Changing the game: AWS Marketplace Support for Clusters and AWS Resources

Today AWS Marketplace is launching Support for Clusters and AWS Resources. This lets you launch AWS Marketplace products through AWS CloudFormation, using any deployment configuration AWS CloudFormation allows.

If you’re not familiar with AWS CloudFormation, it gives developers and systems administrators an easy way to create and manage a collection of related AWS resources, provisioning, and updating them in an orderly and predictable fashion.

For AWS Marketplace users, they no longer need to be an expert in AWS or AWS CloudFormation to enjoy the benefits of both. That’s because software vendors selling products through the AWS Marketplace are creating default reference deployments for their own software, and then making them available as AWS CloudFormation templates on AWS Marketplace. So procuring and deploying enterprise software is now easier than ever, with much of the heavy lifting handled by the software vendors and AWS Marketplace.

For example, let’s say you wanted to deploy Big Data software on AWS. With AWS Marketplace support for Clusters and AWS Resources you could launch 3rd party software via an AWS CloudFormation template, provided by the software’s vendor, which deploys an Amazon S3 instance (or several) to store data, along with multiple Amazon Redshift Clusters for analysis. Using AWS Marketplace, you can now procure and deploy that entire solution in one transaction.

Keeping AWS Marketplace simple even with multi-instance, production deployments

The good news for enterprises who need large-scale deployments is that AWS Marketplace’s focus on simplicity of deployment and procurement isn’t changing. That’s because AWS CloudFormation templates that work with AWS Marketplace software are pre-configured by the vendors, who understand the most common use cases and what works best for them. In addition, users will see estimated monthly costs for the entire AWS CloudFormation deployment on AWS Marketplace before they buy. Of course, users can edit vendor-made AWS CloudFormation templates as they’d like, but the process is still as simple as you expect it to be.

AWS Marketplace screens each vendor-submitted template to ensure it’s able to deploy in every supported region, and to ensure it’s easy to work with for users at all levels of AWS CloudFormation experience. Upon listing a vendor’s template for use on AWS Marketplace, the AWS CloudFormation option will appear on the vendor’s normal AWS Marketplace software listing page. This way AWS Marketplace users still enjoy a curated experience, just with pre-configured AWS CloudFormation templates instead of pre-configured AMIs.

The final result is sophisticated, enterprise-grade, production-ready deployments all within AWS Marketplace.

Vendors that support AWS Marketplace with AWS CloudFormation

AWS Marketplace manually screens all AWS CloudFormation templates that vendors submit, testing them to ensure compatibility with AWS Marketplace and removing any unnecessary complexity that might frustrate non-expert CloudFormation users. So it will take time to roll out compatibility through the entire AWS Marketplace catalog. For now, AWS Marketplace is launching this new feature with four vendors to start: Sophos, Tibco, NetApp, and MapR. Each of these vendors has submitted at least one AWS CloudFormation template that users, starting today, can use to deploy their software from AWS Marketplace.

Bottom line: If you’re an enterprise AWS user, AWS Marketplace’s integration with AWS CloudFormation makes your cloud journey, from testing to production, smoother than you’ve ever thought possible.

Stephen
@stephenorban
orbans@amazon.com