Plenty of companies have built businesses around Linux, MySQL, SugarCRM and other open source technologies. But what open source platforms will drive the next wave of partner profits in 2014? Keep an eye on Hadoop, KVM, NoSQL, OpenDaylight and OpenStack. Here's why... one by one:

1. Apache Hadoop: This open source framework allows cloud services providers (CSPs) and enterprises to store and scale large data sets on clusters of commodity hardware. Translation: Hadoop increasingly is a key building block for Big Data applications. Admittedly, The VAR Guy has warned readers to be careful of the Hadoop hype. But for VARs and database partners moving toward Big Data applications, some basic knowledge of the Hadoop industry could be valuable.

2. KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine): Yes, VMware (VMW) continues to dominate the virtualization market. And Microsoft (MSFT) Hyper-V is gaining a true following. But KVM is worth watching -- and perhaps mastering -- especially if you're a Red Hat (RHT) channel partner marching toward private or public cloud opportunities. The open source hypervisor could also catch on in coordination with OpenStack (covered below).

3. NoSQL: This is a big opportunity -- and it's getting bigger daily. Somewhat similar to the Hadoop wave, NoSQL allows CSPs and businesses to more easily manage and analyze unstructured data. Some customers have been replacing SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL systems with NoSQL alternatives from a range of companies. Plus, venture capital money is flowing into the NoSQL market, and channel partner programs are emerging. Names to know include DataStaxFoundationDB and MongoDB (formerly 10gen) among others.

4. OpenDaylight: Admittedly, this is a bit of a stretch. But here's the thesis: Most of the networking industry is trying to figure out software defined networking (SDN). Taken one step further, OpenDaylight is a community-led open source platform that seeks to accelerate SDN adoption. Skeptics wonder if this is merely an attempt by big IT companies (Cisco, Juniper, IBM, etc.) to hijack SDN. But The VAR Guy is a glass-half-full type of guy. While SDN may be a really niche market at the moment, VARs need to know how the market will evolve. And OpenDaylight is worth watching. Closely.

5. OpenStack: The open source cloud platform has gained critical mass with software and hardware companies. This week's OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong generated a flood of news from numerous companies -- Cisco Systems (CSCO), Red Hat (RHT), Canonical and more. The basic idea: Enterprises and cloud services providers (CSPs) can use OpenStack for private and public clouds -- moving workloads more easily between the two when needed. The VAR Guy isn't suggesting OpenStack is a home run. But boy, it has mind share in the market.

That's The VAR Guy's Top 5. What did he miss? Our resident blogger is all ears.