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Google can’t build its public cloud into a behemoth by itself.

Today, key enterprise software company Red Hat unveiled Google’s latest partnership initiative, to let Red Hat customers move certain subscriptions to the growing Google Compute Engine.

Under the new deal, Google becomes the second cloud provider to join the Red Hat program called Cloud Access, which includes support from Red Hat. Public-cloud market leader Amazon Web Services was the first partner for the Red Hat program. Figures.

In any case, lots of big companies pay to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux in their on-premises data centers, and the enhanced partnership between Red Hat and Google means Google could be ahead of other cloud providers to accept applications that deep-pocketed companies decide to run in the cloud. The move could give Google some nice new names to add to its public cloud customer list.

And that, readers, is the whole point. Google captured the right kind of attention last month when it lowered the prices of Google Compute Engine services and announced a new pricing model for customers that run their apps on the Google cloud for a prolonged period of time. But it didn’t immediately fix an ongoing problem: the lack of news about customers jumping aboard since the Google Compute Engine became generally available.

Google faces a chicken-or-the-egg problem in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) business right now. Few enterprises have adopted the Google Compute Engine. And the dearth of big customers slows down broader adoption. Perhaps this Red Hat deal could help Google solve the problems and become a more formidable challenger to Amazon.

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