I want to start my first HP Cloud machine, check that it works, and then clean up by destroying the things I created.

The HP Cloud service recently opened up to the general public. I created an account and got as far as the home page of the HP Cloud console. The console is the self-service control panel for controlling HP’s cloud compute and storage.

The procedure

This procedure has dozens of steps and covers a lot of ground, but won’t actually take very long.

Activate an availability zone.

I can only create a VM (Virtual Machine) in the US West region. Since these zones are all in the USA and I am in Europe, I won’t be able to start a virtual machine in my country.

  1. Open the HP Cloud console.
  2. Log in. A Dashboard page appears.
  3. Pick an availability zone. There are three, all listed as US West.
  4. Click the Activate Now button. You are redirected to an Account page. Unlike AWS, HP Cloud lets you open an account without adding credit card details. Now I want to rent services.
  5. Enter personal details. This part of the process is handled by the e-commerce company Zuora. You are returned to the dashboard. A confirmation message appears in your inbox.
  6. Pick a Compute Availability Zone. It doesn’t really matter which one. Multiple availability zones are used to stop an outage bringing down a cluster of servers.
  7. Click the Activate Now button. This time, instead of an Account page appearing, a modal window pops up. It displays a progress bar while the service is initialized in some magic way behind the scenes. The Compute page appears, showing the Activate Now button has turned into a Manage Servers button.
  8. Click the Manage Servers button. A new page with a Create Server(s) section appears.

Create security credentials.

HP, like AWS, uses uses public key cryptography to secure access to new VMs. I have to create a key pair before creating the machine. The HP Cloud VM builder will add my public key to my new VM.

  1. Click the Key Pairs tab. It’s on the navbar underneath the Compute – US West Availability Zone title.
  2. Invent a name. I chose NicksKey. Type it in the Key Name field.
  3. Click the Create Key button. The key’s fingerprint and the private key appear.
  4. Copy the private key from the page to a PEM file. This is required to login.
  5. Keep this PEM key file as safe as your house key.

Create an HP Cloud VM.

  1. Click the Servers tab.
  2. Choose a Flavor. This is a list of a half dozen virtual machines, from small to large. I chose the standard.xsmall flavor to qualify for the free offer.
  3. Choose an Install Image. This list contains many OSs (Operating Systems), including CentOS, Fedora and Ubuntu. I chose Debian to make sure I am getting free software (I don’t want to get tripped up by limited time trials, use limits or other tricky licensing).
  4. Ignore the Security Group. The default allows SSH access, and that’s all I need to test the machine is working.
  5. Check the Key Pair field shows the name of your new key pair.
  6. Ignore the Tags field. It’s optional.
  7. Click the Create button. A new line appears in the Running Instances section. The first Status column says something like Build(networking).
  8. Wait a minute while the HP Cloud VM builder does its work. The Status column changes from Build(spawning) to Active.

Check your work.

This part of the work uses the CLI (Command Line Interface).

  1. Find the Public IP address.
  2. Connect to the VM with the private key and PuTTY.

Clean up.

  1. Click the link in the Instance column. A Server Details page appears.
  2. Destroy the new VM. Click the big red Terminate button.
  3. Destroy the key pair.
  4. Log out.
  5. Close the HP Cloud console.


If something goes wrong, click the information tab on the right. This gives a summary of any problems with HP Cloud.

Note: I had no luck creating VMs in Availability Zone 1 for a while. I moved onto Zone 2 and that worked fine.

See the related gallery, for more screenshots and a summary of the steps, including creating your HP Cloud account.