Trending: Microsoft unveils its next Xbox console: ‘Series X’ will debut in 2020, with mini-tower design
Terry Wise, vice president of the AWS worldwide partner ecosystem, addresses a session at re:Invent 2016 in Las Vegas Nov. 29, 2016. (Dan Richman/GeekWire photos)

LAS VEGAS — Amazon Web Services today announced several new programs for its partners, the thousands of businesses that help end-user organizations move into and use the cloud efficiently.

Such consultancies can now distinguish themselves from competitors by qualifying for expertise in 14 specific services, such as the Aurora and PostgreSQL databases, the Lambda code-snippet execution service and the machine-learning service. The Service Delivery Program providing those distinctions is already under way, said Terry Wise, vice president of the AWS worldwide partner ecosystem, who announced the new programs during an address Tuesday morning at re:Invent 2016, the company’s fifth annual users’ conference.

AWS will also launch an Alexa Partner Program, to help partners integrate Alexa and voice capabilities into other products and services. More than 5,000 Alexa skills have already been developed by AWS partners, Wise said.

James Hamilton, an AWS VP and Distinguished Engineer, speaks at re:Invent 2016 in Las Vegas Nov. 29, 2016.

Partners can now gain certification as having special expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) and in financial services. They can also now specialize in working with the public sector. And starting next year, partners will be able to specialize in running VMware on AWS, through the VMware Cloud on AWS Partner Program. Virtualization giant VMware last month said it’s partnering with AWS to offer a version of VMware’s virtualization technology as a service.

End-user customers can now more easily locate partners who have the desired competencies through a new Partner Solutions Finder.

As businesses increasingly move more production loads to the cloud, AWS’s managed-service provider business, which offers a high level of assistance, has grown 130 percent year over year, Wise said. AWS’s consulting-partner business, which offers a slightly lower level of involvement, has grown more than 110 percent year over year, he said.

IoT and databases got special emphasis during the morning, as the refreshingly plainspoken James Hamilton, an AWS VP and Distinguished Engineer, described them as “a big opportunity for growth.”

The cost of storage is dropping rapidly, allowing more and more data to be stored for analysis. IoT is “really something big,” he said. “I pride myself on knowing when to roll my eyes and not trust something. This one’s real. And there is just not help available to get the transition that’s going on. It’s a great time” to be in the business of providing such help, he said.

Jenny Beverly, of Jacksonville, Fla., said she’s enjoying her stint as an AWS direction-giver.

Also at the conference today, Capital One Financial Corp. said it will use AWS as its predominant cloud infrastructure service.

“Over the next five years, Capital One will continue to migrate many core business and customer applications to AWS,” it said in a release.

In the corridors outside the theatre where Wise and Hamilton spoke, the crowds were beginning to get huge and unwieldy. And some of the human quill pens were growing terse.

Hundreds of women and some men, all bearing a nine-foot-high feather-shaped blue flag projecting upwards from their backs, are stationed strategically along main routes linking the three hotels hosting events at re:Invent. Resembling human quill pens, they’ve been patiently guiding thousands of conference-goers among the three hotels hosting events.

At least until today. Crowds are thickening in anticipation of AWS CEO Andy Jassy’s keynote Wednesday. At times, it’s already nearly impossible to move from one location to another. And some of the quill pens seem to be feeling the tension. One was so beleaguered this morning she resorted to jerking her thumb and saying, “This way” or “That way.”

A keynote Hamilton tonight at 8 p.m. Pacific Time will be livestreamed (registration required). Wednesday’s events include Jassy’s livestreamed keynote at 8 a.m. PT.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.