“Essential” partners in data migration to the cloud

“Data has gravity,” she says. Find out what the leading public cloud provider means and where the channel fits.

Amazon Web Services wants its MSPs, VARs, consultants and other channel experts to understand and embrace data migration to the cloud.

“Data has gravity. And if you’re a partner today, you need to consider the importance of data and how to help customers build a data strategy.

It is the affirmation of Sandy Carter. Carter, vice president of global public sector partners and programs at AWS, is leading the public cloud provider’s data efforts.

Consider this: Fifty-six billion devices will generate 79 zettabytes of data by 2025. Almost 30% of that data will require real-time processing. These figures, taken from IoT Business News and IDC, underscore the growing need to host data in the cloud. This way, organizations can access and respond to their information from anywhere, anytime, and quickly.

Channel partners, Carter says, are positioned to meet the need for cloud data migration. Moving customers from unstructured, on-premises-only, siled repositories to cloud data lakes will lead to positive results, she says. This is what the partners aim to do every day for their end users. Now think about data and making sense of it, like another service to offer.

AWS Sandy Carter

“Data has gotten super strategic,” Carter told Channel Futures. “It gives an overview of the business. … Data is the ground from which everything else grows.

The maturation of artificial intelligence and machine learning, combined with the capabilities of the cloud, has made the long-standing promise of “big data” more achievable. For more than a decade, suppliers to the industry have put the end to the fore. They emphasized that aggregating and analyzing data enables end users to better understand and operate their businesses. It’s true. But much of the progress has remained the provenance and privilege of large organizations with big budgets and lots of people.

The booming data opportunity

This is, however, changing. Nowadays, more and more platforms integrate AI and ML. And, of course, cloud adoption has accelerated among organizations of all sizes. Now even the smallest of customers can enjoy the benefits of data hosted in the cloud. Carter led the charge at AWS to get this message out to partners.

Earlier this month, she spoke to AWS ‘ Public sector summit, discussing what machine learning and a data-driven approach to cloud migration mean for partners. And, in a April 21 blog, she reiterated and explained many of these same concepts. For MSPs, consultants, ISVs, resellers and other partners, the key is to give customers the resources they need to gain valuable information, she says.

“It’s not just about getting the data to the cloud, it’s about making sure the data is being used in a sustainable way for a customer,” Carter said.

In fact, she added, data “increases the power of the cloud and enables partners to create scalable and repeatable solutions. … It’s a really powerful approach and creates a lot more opportunities for our partners to really showcase the value.

AWS and Carter present it all as “data-driven migrations”. These differ from application-driven migrations to the cloud. In these cases, the data is hosted on-premises, for example in SAP, and then moved to the cloud. But moving all the data – from Excel spreadsheets, various applications, and even corporate employee memory – is a bigger effort. This information then accumulates in a lake where it awaits analysis and further action.

“It’s beyond an app migration,” Carter said.

“Data really opens the door to partners”

Given the complexity of cloud data migration, AWS created the Mainframe Competency last year, which also houses the Mainframe Migration category. The program teaches partners how to support customers in a data-driven migration. Partners who obtain the proficiency have proven to have the technology and the track record of their customers to migrate both mainframe applications and data to AWS.

The company announced this certification in December at re: Invent. Not even six months into 2021, AWS has six public case studies of data-driven migration.

“Part of the power is that migration happens very quickly,” Carter said. In contrast, application-based migrations “take longer”.

Even more impressive is having half a dozen case studies already to share, as the skill in migration is the hardest to gain. This is, said Carter, “the hardest to get. He has very high demands.

And yet, even the smallest partners can participate. AWS will walk them through the process.

Overall, regardless of the size of the partner, conducting a data-driven migration consists of four stages: planning (the details of which are part of the migration competence); move data into a data lake; use analysis or visualization on this data to glean new information; and apply machine learning to data.

In all of this, “the partners are really essential,” Carter said.

The same goes for the push to move data to the cloud, she added.

“We’re talking about IT value, mission value, business value. Data really opens the door for partners to talk about not only the freshness of the technology, but also the business results. “

Sean N. Ayres