The HP cloud service is now available to the general public. Signing up to use their service is a similar process to creating an AWS (Amazon Web Services) account.

Another cloud provider

HP want to supply the entire cloud space. You can buy a ready-rolled data center in a shipping container, integrate HP software with the private cloud flagship VMware vCloud, and get support through social media.

HP now offer cloud services, with IT Service Management at the SaaS layer, dev and test at the SaaS layer, and computing, storage and CDN at the IaaS layer. HP’s cloud IaaS offering opened up for beta testing in May.

The compute service is similar to what you can get from the reigning champion AWS — there’s an API for programmers and an easy-to-use web-based control panel for normal people. You can run a small instance for free for a while, and there’s all the cloud stuff of self-service, massive scaling, and utility billing.

The technology

HP has bet its cloud future on the success of the OpenStack cloud system. The HP cloud contains open source building blocks from the OpenStack project. The HP guys added all the parts required to turn OpenStack into a money-making service.

The internal workings of the HP cloud aren’t exposed to the general public, so the core technology is irrelevant to customers. How can you tell if the software hidden away in HP’s data centers is OpenStack, Cloudstack or Eucalyptus?

Will it last?

Longevity is more important to the average customer than the technology used. If you are tying an enterprise to a cloud provider for a few years, you want to do your homework. OpenStack is a young project, and HP are early adopters. If OpenStack doesn’t make it to maturity then a lot of companies will suffer, including HP. HP doesn’t needs a huge amount of revenue from its new service. If the money doesn’t roll in, the project will be canned.

Customers can happily sign up to HP cloud for the long haul. An OpenStack early demise is extremely unlikely — the OpenStack project is backed by the heavyweights of the IT world. The board of directors includes high flyers from Rackspace, Dell, and Cisco. The failure of the new HP Cloud service is also unlikely (let’s just forget about that HP TouchPad fiasco). This company is in the same weight class as IBM, Microsoft, and Google. It can spend huge amounts of time, money and resources learning how to play AWS at its own game.

Sign up for HP Cloud

And why not sign up and poke around the web control panel, to see if you like it? It takes 20 minutes, no cash, and no fancy technology.

This step-by-step procedure gets you to the control panel. These steps don’t guide you through consuming the HPCloud services.

  1. Open a web browser.
  2. Go to the URL The HPCloud home page appears, with a big GET STARTED NOW button. Any similarity to is pure coincidence.
  3. Click the GET STARTED NOW button. The Sign Up form appears.
  4. Hand over your personal details, complete the captcha security check and agree to the terms and conditions.
  5. Submit your information and the login page appears. No credit card details are required! This is the first real deviation from the AWS way. You can create an account and log in without supplying payment details.
  6. Look for the confirmation e-mail and click the link. This takes you back to the login console.
  7. Log in. The control panel’s dashboard appears.
  8. Log out. Hover over the portrait icon, top right. A drop-down list appears containing the Log Out link.
  9. Close the web browser.

From now on you can go direct to the login page