Google Cloud Platform is growing up with a channel program and everything

Google(s goog) is laying the groundwork for a tiered partner program for it’s growing Google Cloud Platform. As we’ve seen before, nothing says “I want business customers” more than a partner program — consumer fan fave Dropbox, for example, launched its partner program in June.

Chris Rimer, head of  Google Cloud partners, tipped the plans during a speech at a Red Hat Conference on Monday according to CRN. A peek at Rimer’s LinkedIn(s lknd) profile shows he joined Google last March, after several years at VMware where he was most recently director of end user computing alliances. Amazon has also recruited quite a few VMware veterans for its enterprise push.

Such programs recruit and reward systems integrators, resellers and consultants that put together services that users want and can use. The alternative can result in users dealing with piece-parts of technology that can be hard or impossible to use. For Google, which wants developers to use its cloud platform to build an array of services and products, a set of savvy partners who could — say mix and match those products to build a nifty application for users — would be a good thing.

The internet search giant already started down this path two years ago with a nascent partner effort for the cloud and before that with channel programs for the Google Enterprise appliance and Google Apps. What appears to be different now is that the program would include partner types beyond systems integrators and technology partners — typically other tech vendors. A Google spokeswoman had no further comment on Rimer’s remarks.

This move is another indication that Google is serious about promoting its cloud as a rival to Amazon Web Services(s amzn) which is gaining traction in the enterprise, as well as Microsoft Windows Azure.  Over the past 30 years, Microsoft relied heavily on partners ranging from retailers, developers, ISVs and integrators, to build its business. AWS launched its formal partner program in April, 2012.