Cloud startup Nimbula, which was founded by Amazon Web Services alumni, has launched an ecosystem program designed to pull more software developers toward its Nimbula Director cloud operating system and, ultimately, help IT environments make a smoother transition to the cloud.

Initial partners in the new program include Citrix, Cloud Cruiser, enStratus, Opscode, Puppet Labs and Scalr, all of which plan to create technology solutions for enterprise IT organizations based on Nimbula Director and Nimbula’s infrastucture-as-a-service platform to be able to equip private, hybrid and public cloud environments for enterprises.

A post on GigaOm highlights what Nimbula is up against, competition-wise:

Building the base Infrastructure-as-a-Service software is one thing, but it’s a whole other thing to create all the bells and whistles (e.g., monitoring, end-user self-service, configuration automation, auto-scaling, etc.) that customers might want on top of IaaS. It’s a strategy we’ve seen before from cloud startups such as Eucalyptus Systems and projects such as OpenStack. In fact, most of Nimbula’s new partners are involved with Eucalyptus and/or OpenStack, too.

The competition clearly it what makes it necessary for Nimbula to line up as broad and rich an array of partners as it can, and quickly. It’s off to a good start, with participating companies already demonstrating how functions like virtualization support, cost analysis, configuration management, automatic provisioning and database scaling can be made available to customers based on the ecosystem partnerships.