Engine Yard, the platform as a service (PaaS) cloud company, has recruited Salesforce.com and Cloud9 veteran Jim Burleigh as COO. Burleigh will now oversee Engine Yard's sales, marketing, alliances, product management and support functions.

In the announcement, much in the way of congratulations and excitement were conveyed, but what wasn't said is how this might affect Engine Yard's channel program and its overall go-to-market strategy. Engine Yard's channel program focuses on working with IaaS, SaaS and developer partners. Last year, the PaaS provider expanded its partner program with additional tracks, benefits and tools, so it seems (at least from the outside) that the company is committed to developing its partner program.

What will Burleigh bring to the table? When he joined Cloud9 in March 2011, he took over as CEO from company co-founder Swayne Hill. The indications were there that Burleigh was brought on board to take Cloud9 to the next phase of its evolution. At the beginning of 2013, Burleigh moved on from Cloud9 to spend more time with his family and do consulting work. Now, he has taken a senior executive position at Engine Yard just as it is ready to make a push to build and expand its business.

Since the late 1990s, Burleigh has worked for several cloud companies and was the sixth employee hired at Salesforce.com -- before it practically became a household name in the cloud space.

Considering his history and the direction Engine Yard is taking, I'd take a guess that part of Burleigh's duties in his new role will be to continue building the Engine Yard partner ecosystem and looking toward the future of the company's go-to-market strategy. Hopefully the channel will continue to play an important role in Engine Yard's business.