With tweaked enterprise partner programs, Google’s looking more like Microsoft every day

Google(s goog) continues to put together the pieces of an enterprise software company partner program around its cloud products. On Thursday it announced further refinements of the cloud platform program — announced two years ago — adding three tiers to its services and technology partners.

The top-level Premier tier gets additional, um, “premier” services in addition to the branding, partner relationship-management contacts and online training that are available to mid-level “Authorized” partners. At the bottom rung is the entry-level “registered” company that gets online resources and training.

Services partners include systems integration and value-added reselling (VAR) partners like SADA Systems and L Tech and technology partners, which tend to be vendors and ISVs like Google’s inaugural cloud partner RightScale; devops kingpin Chef and KiSSFLOW. Technology partners tend to fill gaps in a company’s product, provide add-ins, and that sort of thing.

This program covers the full range of cloud products — Google App Engine, Google Compute Engine, SQL Cloud, BigQuery and Cloud DataStore.

Goal: Making Google Cloud an enterprise contender

No one doubts that Google has the scale and resources to mount a credible public cloud challenge to market leader Amazon(s amzn) Web Services and up-and-coming Microsoft Windows Azure. But some Google watchers still doubt that the search giant is truly serious about what they characterize as a side business. That’s one reason Google needs partners with experience migrating customers from on-premises deployments to the cloud.

The program news comes out of Google’s Partner Conference in San Francisco which drew about 700 partner companies, according to the VAR Guy. Google’s been building a small army of partners across its offerings, including companies like Cloud Sherpas to push Google Apps against Microsoft’s one-two Office/Office 365 punch.

Expect the noise around Google Cloud to heat up later this month at the Google Cloud Platform Live event in San Francisco, to be hosted by SVP Urs Hölzle. That event will kick off the day before AWS Summit at Moscone Center, which is probably no accident. Hölzle will also speak at our Structure Conference in San Francisco in June, as will Amazon CTO Werner Vogels.