Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has introduced technical account management (TAM) services for cloud computing, virtualization and storage. The consulting offerings are highly important as the open source company attempts to compete more aggressively against VMware (NYSE: VMW) and EMC (NYSE: EMC), in particular.

Red Hat, a member of the Talkin' Cloud Stocks Index, already offers TAM services for its core Linux and Jboss middleware software platforms. The new TAM offerings reinforce Red Hat's push beyond Linux servers. Customers can leverage TAM services to gain a designated senior technical resource who provides guidance, personalized support and strategic operational planning sessions.

At first glance, the TAM push makes it sound like Red Hat is focusing more on selling IT services. In some ways that's true. But ultimately, Red Hat is now a channel-first business. The company's revenue bookings increasingly involve VARs and integrators. In fact, partners are now driving 65 percent of Red Hat's bookings.