When Red Hat (RHT) announces Q1 2014 earnings later today, channel partners will gain a reality check. Is Red Hat successfully pushing beyond Linux to monetize virtualization, storage and cloud services? And if so, are channel partners profiting from those moves?

Red Hat's stock is down more than 10 percent so far in 2013. Some investors are concerned that the open source company faces intense competition on multiple fronts. Microsoft (MSFT) Hyper-V and VMware (VMW) continue to earning headlines in the private cloud market, and public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure may further threaten Red Hat's growth prospects.

Still, a solid number of Wall Street analysts think concern about Red Hat is overblown. Motley Fool, one of The VAR Guy's favorite reads, thinks Red Hat shares are a long-term buy.

What does The VAR Guy think? Channel partners should ignore day-to-day turbulance on Wall Street. Instead, take a long-term view and closely study Red Hat's core growth initiatives -- which involve Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), Red Hat Storage, JBoss middleware, and OpenShift for platform as a service (PaaS).

And don't forget: Red between the lines. Even if Red Hat is growing a bit more slowly in certain markets, study the company's partner programs to see if Red Hat is planting the right seeds for future partner momentum.

The VAR Guy will return with more Red Hat analysis when the company announces Q1 2014 financial results later today.

Disclosure: The VAR Guy remains long on Red Hat shares.