Sure, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure often dominate the cloud computing headlines. But take a closer look and you'll notice channel chiefs building cloud partner programs at SoftLayer, Tier 3, ViaWest and other data center providers. Here's the update.

The latest move comes from ViaWest, which launched an enhanced channel partner program today. The goal: Promote colocation services as a stepping stone to cloud and managed services, both for channel partners and their customers.

ViaWest Senior VP of Sales and Marketing Christopher Rajiah is driving the partner program. He's a familiar name across the cloud and IT channel markets. Rajiah previously led Rackspace's (RAX) partner program, and earlier he drove channel engagements at Extreme Networks.

Meanwhile, SoftLayer -- recently acquired by IBM -- continues to promote its IaaS services to VARs and MSPs. SoftLayer Channel Chief Drew Jenkins notes that the company's partner program does not lock VARs or MSPs onto the platform. Rather, the month to month design ensures SoftLayer "earns" partner retention and partner business every month. "A lot of cloud companies demand 12-month commitments," said Jenkins. "That's not how we do business."

Other key players include Tier 3, which launched a channel partner program in May 2013. A so-called Blueprint capabilities allow partners to accelerate time to revenue with rapid deployment of complex cloud environments from a library of templates, Tier 3 claims.

The bottom line for VARs and MSPs: A growing list of data center and cloud providers wants to earn your business while you attempt to differentiate from Amazon, Azure and other public cloud providers.

If you take the dive with one or more of these emerging cloud partner programs don't be shy: Feel free to share your feedback or observations with The VAR Guy.