AWS is the leading cloud computing services provider. Multiple partners are working with AWS to provide services and solutions to the vast market. We, CloudThat, are amongst a very few Advanced services/consulting partners with AWS and have been associated with them for the last nine years. As a next step in the AWS Partnership journey, we have started the process to achieve the AWS Premier Consulting Partnership which includes extensive research and documentation as a business and technical expert. However, the hard work required to achieve this coveted feat is not for the faint-hearted.
In this blog, you will get a detailed understanding of the prerequisites, the process involved, and the challenges we faced during our entire journey.
Let’s get started.
2. Overview of Amazon’s Partnership Program
There are very well-defined criteria for advancing your partnership journey with Amazon. Once you become AWS Partner, you can view your Partner’s progress on the Partner Scorecard. In a nutshell, there are four major milestones in this journey:
CloudThatis an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and is on a journey towards the Premier Consulting Partnership. Becoming a Premier Partner is a tricky proposition. You not only have to meet some of the primary targets like meeting the number of Technical Certifications or the amount of ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) but also must showcase your proficiency in technical thought leadership. After meeting all these criteria, you must sustain all the above for at least six months.
To achieve the AWS Premier Partnership designation, the Partner must obtain validation or validations from the AWS Competency, AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP), or AWS Well-Architected Partner Programs. At least one of the three required validations must be either the AWS MSP or AWS DevOps Competency designation.
Stay tuned for a detailed blog on AWS Premier Partnership Program.
In this blog, we will talk about the AWS DevOps Competency, which is one of the preliminary requirements for AWS Premier Partnership, and the process of achieving the same.
3. Focus on AWS DevOps Competency Program
For any organization, achieving the AWS DevOps Competency helps advance, stand out in the market, and further their business by showcasing their capabilities in specialized areas.
Below are the steps to follow for submitting the AWS DevOps Competency Application
Let us go through the prerequisites, technical and business requirements, and some FAQs that can help you in achieving this milestone.
4. Prerequisites & Due Diligence:
The expectations from the AWS Partners applying for DevOps Competency are to submit the required documentation, complete the Self-Assessment Spreadsheet, and go through technical validation sessions often conducted by the third-party auditing organization. After submission, the AWS team will schedule a technical validation audit where the documentation is presented and supporting evidence in an orderly fashion.
Partner must be an AWSAdvanced APN Consulting Partner before applying to the DevOps Competency Program
4 Case Studies (2 mandate public): A minimum of four case studies are to be presented, out of which two should be mandatory public case studies. See more about this in the FAQs section. The problem statement of the case study must be a DevOps problem; thus, the proposed solution and the architectural diagram should focus on solving only the DevOps challenge. Usually, when project case studies are documented, they involve end-to-end solution implementation that consists of various problem statements. The Case study that is submitted for the DevOps Competency should solely address the DevOps challenge.
Social Media Presence: Partners must have public-facing material such as blogs, eBooks, press releases, research papers, etc. showcasing the company’s expertise in DevOps. The respective links must be shared with the reviewer and must be published within the last 12 months.
Micro-Site: Partners must have a dedicated microsite for DevOps development and delivery solutions. This microsite demonstrates the best practices of DevOps implementation, use cases, success stories, and technology solutions, highlighting the Partnership with AWS; this microsite must be accessible through the company’s official site. Here is CloudThat’s DevOps Solution Microsite
Self-Assessment Checklist: The DevOps Competency Self-Assessment Sheet is an exhaustive spreadsheet consisting of DevOps Practice Requirements, Common Practice Requirements, DevOps Customer Example Requirements (Project Case Studies), and Common Customer Example Requirements. Here is the link for theSelf-Assessment Checklist.
5. Technical Validation Process
Achieving the AWS DevOps Competency is more of a marathon than a sprint. Every Partner is assigned a Program Development Manager who is part of the AWS team. The PDM helps the Partner to fulfill the prerequisites, build 4 unique case studies that solve the client’s DevOps challenge, and review them from the AWS Program Guide.
The next step is to submit the application to the APN Portal and the Case Studies and Evidence. Finally, the AWS team will conduct a preliminary BR – Business Requirement Review.
The following steps in the process involve a third-Party Review. Here, a third-party reviewer steps in for a rigorous 4-hour review session involving a company presentation and case study presentation, followed by a thorough review of the evidence submitted.
Here is the agenda of the Technical Validation Session for CloudThat technical validation session:
The final feedback from the auditor is a report that showcases the outcome of the Technical Validation. The report details the result into four categories i.e., flags: Strengths (Green Flag), Opportunities for Improvement (OFI) (Yellow Flag), and Action Items (AI) (Red Flag).
Every flag has a different significance. The Green Flag symbolizes the various technical and business proficiencies that the Partner posses and is a clear indication that the Partner is eligible for the Competency. Receiving OFIs or Yellow Flag indicates that there is room for improvement. These pointers are noted and specified in the report and the Partner has the opportunity to rectify the shortcomings and submit supporting evidence to the auditor for verification. However, if there are any Action Items or Red Flags, they will be sent to the AWS team for review. This could also hamper the Competency Process and cause a delay, requiring major remediation from the Partner.
Any OFIs received in the report allow the Partner to fix the processes or methods and submit the updated documentation within five business days. However, if any Action Items are received, they will be reverted to the AWS team, stagnating the Competency process.
After the re-submission of OFI documents, you can expect a response within five business days.
CloudThatachieved a stellar report from the audit and received positive affirmation for successfully clearing the technical validation process. In addition, a confirmation from the AWS team within the next five business days brought us good news. We are now recognized as the official AWS DevOps Services Competency Partner!
AWS DevOps Competency is one criterion for achieving AWS Premier Partnership. In my next blog, we will be having a complete guide for achieving AWS Premier Partnership and our journey towards achieving the AWS Advanced Consulting Partnership accolade.
The journey to achieving the recognition of AWS DevOps Competency has been an uphill task. A dedicated team of DevOps experts, Project Managers, DevOps-SMEs, and Technical Writers worked exclusively for this project. Get your case studies perfected, continuously improve the checklist information with updated details, and organize your evidence list.
The customer examples presentation should be practiced multiple times before the final audit to keep it crisp, concise, and within the time limit. Maintain transparency and authenticity while submitting. Express your concerns to the Program Guide and find the relevant solution to handle any surprises. You should have at least two backup case studies during the technical validation. Maintain version control for documentation. Keep the AWS Console access ready for any technical demonstration. Finally, don’t get bottled down because of exhaustion. Expect a lot of back-and-forth communication with the AWS team, audit team, and Program Development Manager.
Dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t.’
8. About CloudThat:
CloudThatis the official AWS DevOps Services Competency Partner, authorized AWS Well-Architected Partner, helping other businesses build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructures for their application and workloads.
CloudThatis on a mission to build a robust cloud computing ecosystem by disseminating knowledge on technological intricacies within the cloud space. Our blogs, webinars, case studies, and white papers enable all the stakeholders in the cloud computing sphere to advance in their businesses. As a pioneer in the Cloud consulting realm, CloudThatis AWS (Amazon Web Services) Advanced Consulting Partner, AWS authorized Training Partner, Microsoft Gold Partner, and Winner of the Microsoft Asia Superstar Campaign for India: 2021. To get started, go through our Expert Advisorypage andManaged Services Packagethat isCloudThat‘sofferings. Then, you can quickly get in touch with our highly accomplished team of experts to carry out your migration needs.
1. What are private and public case studies? The case studies available publicly for anyone to reference cannot include client-specific, confidential information such as architectural diagrams detailing the strategies. Instead, the Public Case study must consist of: Customer name, Partner name, Challenges, a description of how AWS was leveraged as part of the AWS Partner Solution, and the Outcome.
2. How are DevOps Practice Requirements different from Common Customer Example Requirements in the Self-Assessment Checklist? The Self-Assessment Checklist has five tabs. The DevOps Practice Requirements discuss the standard operating procedure such as customer assessment, configuration management, etc. The Common Customer Example Requirements discuss the customer references or the projects on which the case studies are designed and the client-specific documentation/ technology demonstration for each customer.
3. Our company recently achieved the AWS Consulting Partnership. Can we apply for the AWS DevOps Competency? No, you need to be the AWS Advanced Consulting PArtnership. One of the first criteria for applying for AWS DevOps Partnership is for the company to be AWS Advanced Consulting Partner. This is a 3-tier Partnership: Basic, Advanced, and Premier; each having a different set of technical and business requirements.
Prarthit Mehta is the Business Unit Head-Cloud Consulting at CloudThat. He is an AWS ambassador and has experience delivering solutions for customers from various industry domains. He also holds working experience in AWS and Big data platforms. He is an AWS Certified Architect - Professional and a certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect.