San Francisco company Cloudscaling today unveiled a roadmap that says is best designed to co-opt Amazon’s lead in the cloud: by mimicking the Amazon AWS APIs more closely than ever.

Cloudscaling said its latest product release, called Open Cloud System 2.5, offers companies a private cloud with speedier deployment and round-the-clock support as well as expanded compatibility with hardware from major vendors such as Juniper, Dell, and Cisco. But it also said that it was moving quickly this fall to make its service more closely compatible with Amazon AWS and Google’s Compute Engine to provide for easier “hybrid” cloud deployment.

Cloudscaling, which has raised $14M from large investors including Juniper and Seagate, is hoping to exploit the move by large businesses to embrace a hybrid cloud – or one that is part public and part private. While Amazon commands a significant lead in offering pubic cloud services to companies, no clear leader has emerged to offer private cloud services. The private cloud business is expected to be a significant market – valued in the tens of billions of dollars over the next few years. Businesses enjoy the security, control, and speciality benefits that private cloud affords.

Randy Bias, the chief executive of Cloudscaling, has burnished his image in the cloud industry by arguing aggressively that private cloud vendors need to make their clouds as compatible as possible with Amazon’s. That way, their clouds can work more seamlessly with Amazon’s when businesses move to build hybrid clouds. This, in turn, will enable customers to invest more eagerly into such private offerings. (The stakes are high: One expert today calculates Amazon AWS is rolling in profit with a 80 percent margin.) Bias argues having a tightly integrated and standardized OpenStack is the best alternative for everyone. It’s “asinine,” he says, when people like OpenStack consulting company Mirantis co-founder Boris Renski argue that companies need their own versions of a personal clouds.

Editor’s note: Our upcoming CloudBeat conference, Sept. 9-Sept. 10 in San Francisco, will be tackling revolutionary cases of enterprise cloud usage, including how companies like Cloudscaling are helping companies build hybrid clouds. Cloudscaling’s Randy Bias will be continuing the “Great Cloud API debate” on a panel discussion with counterpart executives from Mirantis and Eucalyptus. Register today!

Indeed, most of Amazon’s would-be competitors appear at a standstill, mired in an open-source project called OpenStack. True, OpenStack has momentum, with contributors offering all sorts of rich features that make it a formidable competing technology. But many people feel it is stuck in pilot project phase because there are so many permutations of it. Rackspace, an early innovator of the OpenStack project, offers one set of APIs and services, while other vendors such as Cloudscaling, HP, Nebula, and RedHat offer their own flavors. Potential customers remain on the sidelines, confused about which flavor they should pick.

Cloudscaling is positioning itself to the be the most enthusiastic supporter of all of OpenStack’s rich features while at the same time offering the most aggressive compatibility with Amazon APIs.

Specifically, Cloudscaling said today that its new version marks the “delivery of the industry’s first commercial solution offering that includes eight of the nine OpenStack projects” and uses OpenStack’s latest stable release, called Grizzly.

The ninth project, which CloudScaling does not yet offer, is called Heat, which Bias said in an interview with VentureBeat would be available with very soon (an internal release will be offered in “late Q3”).

Bias said Cloudscaling aims to be to OpenStack what the Redhat’s enterprise version of Linux was to Linux: a fully baked system, resilient and integrated.

Cloudscaling has worked closely with Juniper, he said, to make OpenStack’s separate API calls for its compute component, Nova, and networking component, Neutron, mirror the corresponding Amazon EC2 APIs more closely.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Juniper executive Jennifer Lin said Bias’ push for more standards with OpenStack is a reason Juniper is an enthusiastic supporter of Cloudscaling. She said many vendors have tried to reinvent server and network virtualization in the cloud without truly thinking through how it will be used in real business environments: “The architecture needs to be more distributed, realtime, and dynamic,” she said.

Here are the specifics of the Cloudscaling announcement:

OCS Virtual Private Cloud
Leveraging Juniper Networks Contrail networking virtualization solution that is built around an open, standards-based SDN controller, OCS VPC enables elastic management of IP-based virtual network and security services. OCS VPC accelerates hybrid cloud application deployments by enhancing the efficiency and agility of deploying network resources. VPC lets customers isolate elastic cloud resources without sacrificing the core benefits of elastic clouds.

OCS Block Storage Enhancements
With the addition of volumes snapshots to OCS Object Storage plus the capability to boot instances from persistent volumes, customers can now consolidate and aggregate block storage needs on high-performance OCS Block Storage. Snapshots protect data by providing cost-effective backups for OCS Block Storage volumes and simplify the process of launching new instances. Using OCS Block Storage significantly reduces the CAPEX and OPEX building of an elastic cloud.

OpenStack Grizzly
OCS 2.5 is built with OpenStack Grizzly, the latest release of OpenStack announced in April. In addition to core OpenStack projects such as Nova, Swift, Cinder, Glance, Horizon and Keystone, OCS now also supports Neutron and Ceilometer compute agent.

New Certified Hardware Options
OCS now supports certified hardware from Juniper, Dell and Cisco. The broadening of hardware choices in OCS provides customers with an expanded range of configuration options and price points. Customers can now leverage established relationships with their current hardware vendors when deploying OCS.

“Market momentum clearly signals that a hybrid-first mentality will win in cloud,” said Randy Bias, the CEO and cofounder of Cloudscaling. “With OCS 2.5, we’re delivering the most advanced product solution in the space that’s designed explicitly to give customers a production-proven AWS-compatible elastic cloud that’s shipping today.”

“It’s all about completeness and depth of OpenStack support,” said Azmir Mohamed, the vice president of product management for Cloudscaling. “Vendors who cherry-pick specific OpenStack projects to incorporate are doing a disservice to customers that want the various OpenStack projects together. That’s why we invested heavily in Grizzly for OCS 2.5. No other product has this depth and breadth of OpenStack integration in the marketplace.”

Next Steps for Cloudscaling and Open Cloud System
Throughout the fall, Cloudscaling will unveil a series of supporting capabilities to extend and enhance the OCS experience, including new AWS compatibility testing tools, enhanced AWS compatibility for hybrid cloud deployment, support of the Google Compute Engine APIs in OCS, OpenStack training geared toward customers interested in hybrid cloud, expansion of the OCS ecosystem community, and a comprehensive testing environment for OCS customers.