Amazon.com has launched an online marketplace for software that runs on its cloud services.
The new service allows customers to provision third party software infrastructure, developer tools and business software all of which will be hosted on Amazon.com’s cloud platform, Amazon Web Services. To use the software, customers will pay subscription fees to Amazon.com, which will pass revenues on to the software provider.
Alongside a number of open source options, the AWS Marketplace already offers software available from commercial providers including SAP, IBM, CA Technologies, McAfee and Sage. In the case of SAP and IBM, the software is not being offered directly from the companies themselves but from resellers.
Some products are available as software as a service, while others involve using an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), which means the operating system and hosted server environment are included in the service.
Using the AMI option allows customers to "retain more control over software configuration and over the servers that run the software, but you also have additional responsibilities regarding server configuration and maintenance," Amazon says on its website.
Like Amazon.com’s retail site, the AWS Marketplace includes user feedback options such as product and vendor ratings.
“AWS Marketplace brings the same simple, trusted, and secure online shopping experience that customers enjoy on Amazon.com’s retail website to software built for the AWS platform, streamlining the process of doing research and purchasing software,” said Terry Hanold, VP for new business initiatives at AWS, in a statement.
“AWS Marketplace makes it even easier to run software on AWS because you can find a wide variety of AWS ecosystem providers’ solutions, in one place, where much of the work involved in building and deploying solutions on top of AWS has already been done for you by these solutions providers.”
Earlier this year, Forrester Research analyst Stefan Ried noted a recent proliferation of online cloud- and SaaS marketplaces.
"The Wild West of cloud procurement is over," he wrote. "More enterprises and SMBs than ever are discovering a formal strategy to purchase cloud services in 2012. The easiest consolidated way to do this is an app store or cloud marketplace."
He noted that IT giants including Deutsche Telekom, SAP and Fujitsu have all launched their own cloud marketplaces recently. Salesforce.com’s AppStore is the pioneer and incumbent of this market, while Apple and Microsoft have been surprisingly late, Ried wrote.
Speaking to Information Age about the UK government’s dedicated CloudStore, Ried explained that the ease of procurement that app stores enable must be balanced with the need for strong enterprise procurement policy.
"While cloud app stores can be self-service, they should also respect corporate purchasing habits such as consolidated billing and approval processes," Ried said. "That’s why a cloud broker will emerge, which adds a defined procurement process to the enterprise while you are sure to get the lowest price."