If you are looking for a partner to help customers manage your fledgling cloud offering, who better to work with than the guys behind Amazon EC2?

The Red Hat Summit kicked off yesterday in Boston and it appears that everyone had their head in the clouds.

I apologize for the nerdy cliché. But between continued discussion of the Amazon outage and Red Hat's recent announcement of a cloud offering, I think it is safe to assume that more than a few people were talking cloud computing.

Red Hat itself helped to fuel those conversations with the announcement of a partnership with cloud management provider Nimbula (news, site). The plan is for Red Hat to use Nimbula's Director product to support and enable Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Virtualization 2.2 and Deltacloud.

It is hard not to be impressed with Nimbula. The company founded by two former Amazon EC2 architects has gone from public beta in December 2010 to partnership with a leading brand in computing infrastructure in about six months.

What Do Red Hat's Customers Get?

Incorporating Nimbula Director will allow Red Hat's cloud customers to emulate Amazon EC2, and my guess is that emulation will be close to the experience of current Amazon EC2 customers -- except without the pesky downtime.

What does "emulate Amazon EC2" mean? IT departments who want to provision on-site clouds and companies that want to offer cloud solutions will be able to do so while guaranteeing scalability, automation and fine-grained identity management.

The Million Dollar Question Is...

Why didn't Red Hat just acquire Nimbula rather than opting to partner?

It is hard for me to believe that there wasn't at least preliminary discussions about acquisition. However, my belief is that Nimbula has a high price tag. The Amazon pedigree coupled with buzz from the Wall Street Journal most likely puts Nimbula in rarefied acquisition air -- think Google, Facebook, and, dare I say, Amazon.

All speculation aside, this is great partnership for both Red Hat and Nimbula. Red Hat fills a strategic gap in its cloud offering and Nimbula legitimizes its product. But enough from me, what do you think about this match?