It’s official. We (SourceFuse) have earned our AWS DevOps Competency

Even though we’ve been an AWS partner and in the APN ecosystem for years, we finally got our ducks in line and applied for our DevOps Competency. The process made us organize ourselves and bring some of our capabilities to the forefront to prepare for our AWS audit.

The cobbler’s children have no shoes

This old proverb means that one doesn’t always benefit from the product of their trade. The saying is still true today and resonates with trades people, artists, and enterprises — where they have even coined the term “Cobblers Children Syndrome”.

Everyone who works in these organizations is aware of the irony. In our situation it is less about us as a technology company having outdated computer systems, but more about us a services company prioritizing our clients projects over our own.

This is an article about how we overcame “Cobblers Children Syndrome” along with some helpful tips and insight into the AWS DevOps Competency audit process.

What is the AWS Competency Program?

AWS is enabling scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solutions from startups to global enterprises. To support the seamless integration and deployment of these solutions, AWS established the AWS Competency Program to help customers identify Consulting and Technology APN Partners with deep industry experience and expertise.

Understand the AWS audit process

AWS does a good job laying the foundation for what you should expect and how you can prepare to pass your competency audit. Here AWS lays out some expectations in their checklist:

“APN Partners should prepare for the audit by reading the Validation Checklist, completing a self-assessment using the checklist, and gathering and organizing objective evidence to share with the auditor on the day of the audit.”

But if your anything like us, you are busy with your “real” job. Writing infrastructure as code for new clients, setting up automation pipelines, and not answering questions from a junior level marketing co-worker. Whose helping prepare the latest case study or client testimonial to submit to AWS in part of the audit.

Accept the fact that preparing for an AWS audit is a team effort

The C-suite may order the audit, or get the ball rolling. A marketing or technical leader may spearhead the effort and coordinate with your Partner Development Representative (PDR) or Partner Development Manager (PDM). But it will take DevOps practitioners, Developers, and those on the front line to provide the technical details for content that fulfill requirements. It will take SCRUM Masters or Product Owners to help communicate the nuisances of each DevOps project, and perhaps a Sales person or Relationship Manager to seek client approvals.

It is naive to think that one employee or even department can confidently prepare and execute everything required for a successful audit. 

Program Prerequisites

There is a lot of verbiage around what is actually required by companies. But for the short, sweet and final.

Here is every marketing asset you need to have:

  •  You must already be an Advanced or Premier APN Consulting Partner before applying to the DevOps Competency Program.
  • You company must have 4 or more.
  • 4 unique AWS customer case studies specific to completed DevOps projects.
    • 2 of which must be publicly referenceable
    • Case studies must address and follow these predefined best
    • Case studies must be for projects that are in production, not pilots or POCs
  • You must have specific web or landing pages that show confidence and competency in DevOps capabilities and real-world experience.
    • Describe your DevOps practice and USP
    • Include links to your AWS case studies or case studies and any other relevant information supporting your DevOps expertise
  • Conduct and complete a self-assessment
    • Self-assessment emailed to competency-checklist@amazon.com, using the following convention for the email subject line:
      • “[APN Partner Name], DevOps Competency Consulting Partner Completed Self-Assessment.”

Most Importantly, Do Good Work

You can not fake it until you make it. Having a quality DevOps practice means documented and proven deployment strategies, understanding application design optimization, deploying CI/CD pipelines and knowing about monitoring requirements.

DevOps makes each team responsible for both the development and operation of its code. Giving DevOps teams complete responsibility for the entire value stream. In case you didn’t know, DevOps is serious business.

Your AWS Partner Development Representative (PDR) or Partner Development Manager (PDM) will be an integral part of your competency accreditation. They will  vet your work in production, and guide you through hoops and over hurdles that increase your work validation.

AWS provides a set of amazing services designed to rapidly and reliably build and deliver products using DevOps practices. Wether or not your DevOps practice can thrive entirely with AWS services is up to your personal and professional opinion. Below are some suggestions of tools we use to help run our AWS approved DevOps practice:

  • Version Control: Git, GitHub, Bitbucket, CodeCommit
  • Continuous Integration: Jenkins, Bamboo,
  • Configuration Management: Ansible, Chef, Puppet
  • Container Management: ECS, Kubernetes, Docker
  • AWS Automation: CloudFormation
  • Monitoring and Alerting: Cloudwatch, Site 24×7, Datadog, New Relic
  • Best practices, Security & Compliance, Resource Inventory, Cost Management: CloudCheckr
  • Service Desk & Operations: Jira, Slack
  • Documentation: Confluence

Fast feedback is critical to DevOps. Our DevOps teams have a streamlined, low lead-time, lean pipeline to production. We have devoted team capacity to operational functions and share best practices across work teams. We work with partners in strict DevOps capacities and others where we run DevOps teams alongside of other web or mobile Product Teams.

Be Confident and Go

With a solid foundation, adherence to the AWS guidelines, and a confident DevOps practice you should feel encouraged to take the steps towards your competency audit. Some of these audits are conducted by a neutral third-party contracted by AWS, removing any pre-existing relationship stipulations or stigmas.

Amazon Web Services Partner Badge PublicSector and DevOps Partner

What it Means for Our Customers

Achieving the AWS DevOps Competency helps to further differentiate SourceFuse as an AWS Partner Network (APN).

This designation helps to recognize our ability to implement continuous integration and continuous delivery practices for our clients. Helping them automate infrastructure provisioning and management with configuration management tools on AWS.

So whether you need to extend your development team with ours or just need help shipping new features. Our DevOps programmers build stuff for the people who build stuff, so they can build stuff faster.