Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) will update its open hybrid cloud strategy during a North America partner conference, scheduled for Jan. 14-16 in San Diego. North America Channel Chief Roger Egan, in an interview with The VAR Guy, said telcos, cloud services providers (CSPs), VARs and other types of partners are opening their arms to Red Hat's CloudForms (IaaS) and OpenShift (PaaS) strategies. But can Red Hat really muscle aside VMware (NYSE: VMW) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) as partners seek the building blocks for public and private clouds?

In many ways, Red Hat has successfully diversified beyond its Linux heritage. Moves into the virtualization, storage and middleware markets seem to be taking hold. Roughly 500 people, including roughly 175 partners, will listen to Red Hat's updated vision during the North America partner conference, which is one of The VAR Guy's Top 100 Channel Partner Conferences for 2013.

Recent Acquisition

Among the key technologies to watch: ManageIQ -- an enterprise cloud management and automation platform that Red Hat recently acquired. In addition to managing private clouds, ManageIQ's technology allows channel partners to manage public cloud workloads running on Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and, later this year, Rackspace (NYSE: RAX).

uring much of the Red Hat conference, the open source company will help partners to build business practices around datacenter infrastructure and application infrastructure. On both fronts, Red Hat faces intense competition from VMware and Microsoft, among other private and public cloud software providers.

Microsoft's recent Windows Server 2012 launch, with an enhanced Hyper-V hypervisor, has generated positive buzz. And VMware's software-defined datacenter strategy will be a core focus at the upcoming VMware Partner Exchange Conference 2013.

Real Momentum

Still, Egan sounds upbeat about OpenShift, CloudForms and ManageIQ, among other technology areas. "There's a lot of buzz around OpenShift," said Egan. "The idea of being able to really develop new applications in a flexible environment is incredibly appealing to people." Egan said to expect some news and views involving both OpenShift and CloudForms, and Red Hat also has some interest in OpenStack. "Put ManageIQ on top of all that, and [Red Hat] will have a lot of compelling things to talk about."

Talkin' Cloud will be closely monitoring the conference for partner program updates.