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When it comes to cloud computing, solution providers have no shortage of options. They can either opt to build their own cloud to provide services to customers or resell any number of other cloud services. The challenge is figuring out the right mix of all those options.

For instance, a solution provider can opt to resell some of the more popular cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services. In that scenario, the solution provider essentially becomes the face of that cloud service to the end customer. That’s not a bad approach because Amazon has shown little interest in customer service. In fact, the whole Amazon business model is predicated on reducing the number of customer service inquiries it needs to handle.

On the other end of the scale, vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell and Oracle now offer cloud services through the channel. They provide much more in the way of customer support and platforms specifically designed to meet the needs of enterprise customers.

In addition, they give partners the flexibility needed to move workloads between not only private and public cloud computing services, but also managed hosting scenarios as well.

HP, for example, just launched a series of extensions to its CloudBuilder program, which includes a number of managed services designed to make it easier to manage cloud computing environments. “We’re giving partners a common set of tools and platforms that will all share a published API,” said Dan Baigent, senior director of business development for HP Cloud Services.

IBM is also offering a full range of cloud computing services. “With us, partners can choose to assemble their own cloud, buy one in a box, run a virtual private cloud or put in a public cloud,” said Rich Lechner, IBM vice president of cloud and services marketing. “In fact, we see customers using multiple instances of thoses options all the time.”

In between the Amazons and Googles on one hand and the IBMs and HPs on the other, a raft of cloud service providers are promising channel partners a lot more in the way of individual attention.

For example, Morphlabs just launched mCloud Osmium, a public cloud service that includes an OpenStack-based management framework. According to Morphlabs CEO Winston Damarillo, the objective is to give solution providers access to a set of cloud resources that makes heavy use of solid-state drives (SSDs) to outperform Amazon and do so at a lower cost.

“Our operating cost per virtual machine is lower,” said Damarillo. “The end result is, we can afford to give the partner 50 percent margins.”