Box shifter Dell is assembling a cloud component for its channel programme with a launch set for the end of January.
The Texan tech monster is working on the addition to the PartnerDirect framework but admitted defining cloud competency in third parties is more difficult than drawing up previous reseller certification requirements.
Bob Skelley, exec director for the global certified partner programme and channel at Dell, said it was designing a matrix for different cloud partner types - builders, providers and resellers - and product "solution paths".
"Cloud is incredibly complex, it's not like rolling out a storage certification, you have a whole host of SaaS products, hardware and virtualisation. Then you have cloud builders, providers and resellers," he told The Reg.
"How I take those and weave them together is a challenge that I'm working through right now," added Skelley, who expects to launch at the end of fiscal Q4 or early in its next financial year.
Rival HP is expected to add cloud certification to its PartnerONE programme from its new fiscal year starting on 1 November.
But both HP and Dell are significantly behind IBM, which rolled out its cloud computing speciality programme to dealers in February.
Skelley reckons the market is transitioning to the cloud but "there is still some trepidation around security and availability".
He said partner feedback was that private clouds were most in demand but expected public clouds to proliferate as customers overcome confidence issues.
"A lot of organisations are counting on the cloud to reduce heavy infrastructure costs, companies are concerned at the amount of budget going to just maintain IT," said Skelley. ®