The OpenStack vs. Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud battle will stretch across the United States next week. Indeed, cloud consultants and integrators will flock to OpenStack Summit in Portland, Ore. (April 15-18), while Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) partners and customers will gather for an AWS Summit in New York (April 17-18). Terry Wise, head of AWS's wordwide partner ecosystem, will be on hand for the conference. For channel partners, it's nearly time to choose sides

Let The VAR Guy paint the picture: Cloud computing is now real for most VARs and resellers. Indeed, nearly 90 percent of channel partners at this week's Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Phoenix, Ariz., offer one or more cloud services from the distributor, according to VP Renee Bergeron. 

In some cases, VARs are transforming into cloud brokers -- plugging into cloud aggregation systems from Ingram and other partners to source hosted services. But most of the conversation at Ingram's cloud event was around basic offerings like hosted Exchange, cloud storage and security.

The more intense battle involves the underlying architectures for public and private clouds. There, there options include:

  • Amazon Web Services for public cloud deployments, with Eucalyptus (an open source platform) providing AWS capabilities in private clouds.
  • OpenStack emerging as both a public and private cloud option, potentially ensuring that channel partners can move customer workloads between on-premises and cloud systems. Backers include Dell, HP, IBM and Rackspace, among many others.
  • VMware's Hybrid Cloud strategy, which includes vCloud Suite as a platform for developing software-defined datacenters.
  • And dozens of additional niche offerings.

But the biggest showdown next week involves Amazon vs. OpenStack.

  • On the one hand, AWS has a massive installed base and a growing following among ISVs (independent software vendors). Jaspersoft, for one, recently signed its 100th customer through the Amazon Web Services Marketplace.
  • On the other hand, most enterprise vendors seem to be betting on OpenStack -- a reality that will surely take the spotlight during next week's OpenStack Summit.

For channel partners, the writing is on the wall: Ignoring Amazon and OpenStack is no longer an option. Amazon already has major market share, and OpenStack is gaining mind share. Ignorance of those realities is no longer bliss.