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As part of an effort to compete more aggressively against rivals such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google is making a concerted effort to build a channel around the Google Compute Platform (GCP).

Previously, Google focused most of its channel efforts on selling productivity applications such as the G-Suite. But at the recent Google Cloud Next conference, the company revealed that it has started signing up premier managed service providers such as Rackspace to support GCP.

The decision to add GCP to the Rackspace managed services portfolio is being driven by increased customer demand, said Patrick Lee, general manager of Google business at Rackspace. “It also allows us to leverage the expertise we developed supporting AWS and Microsoft Azure,” he said.

At the same time, Google announced it is making preconfigured images of Microsoft SQL Server available on GCP, alongside an implementation of a Postgres database that can support Oracle applications. To drum up interest in the Microsoft service, Google has begun to recruit Microsoft partners into its channel program.

Google has also formed a partner network around a Cloud Key Management Service. That makes it simpler for customers to manage their encryption keys outside of their cloud applications by using a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) defined by Google, explained Maya Kaczorowski, product manager at Google Cloud.

“We think that will create a lot of services opportunities,” said Kaczorowski.

One of those service providers is Vitru, which offers email and data security services. Vitru CTO Will Ackerly said that rather than having to write code to manage encryption within an application, it’s more efficient to leverage a service.

“It also makes it easier to control who has access to those keys,” he added.

Now that Google is more focused on traditional application workloads in the enterprise, building a channel ecosystem around GCP is obviously a much higher priority. The challenge is to get many potential channel partners that have already committed to AWS or Microsoft Azure to consider adding GCP to their portfolios.