HP Cloud starts to Rain!

Posted in: Cloud, Technical Track

So HP Cloud is finally yielding for some beta rain since their announcement late Sep.

It started late September when I signed up for private beta testing. They sent me this when I signed up

Thanks for your interest in HP Cloud Services. We will be sure to follow up with you when access becomes available. Since we’re only accepting a limited number of customers for our private beta based on customer profiles, we cannot guarantee that every request will be accepted.

However, we will review your submission and follow-up with you directly.

Two weeks ago, I got invited to join the beta and start testing the platform.

What’s offered?

Currently, you can create computing instances with different hardware/operating systems configurations and also the ability to upload files to the storage containers (think of it almost like Amazon’s Web Services and S3); more on that later.

There are some restrictions though to what you can do, including :

– Max Compute usage limited to 5 instances.

– Limit HP Cloud Object Storage usage to 2TB of total data across the account.

– Only use this beta for testing purposes. No production workloads should be hosted on the system at this time.

Initially I was asked to only create instances in one compute cluster location, out of two, but later this restriction was lifted.

First impressions

– Upon signing in, I was asked for billing information and a credit card; card shouldn’t be billed during the beta period, only when it emerges into production.

– After completing the sign up process, I was presented by a simple (so simple) interface with four main tabs:

# Dashboard : Contains links to the compute cluster locations (“US West 2 – AZ1″,”US West 2 – AZ2”) and Object Storage


# Compute: just links to compute cluster locations (“US West 2 – AZ1”, “US West 2 – AZ2”)

# Storage: Lists only Object Storage management

# Account: Info about contact (email, password, name), billing, notifications ..etc

– Documentation is really basic, an alpha phase maybe. There’s not much about, for example, the computing power, walk-through’s or anticipated new features. You can have a look at knowledge base for more content.

– You can mount instances based on Linux only currently, no MS Windows but HP plans adding that later. I could get MS windows virtualized inside Linux, I’ll post about that in a separate blog.

Compute instances

Creating a server (compute instance) is a piece of cake; choose Size (hardware configuration), Install image (OS), define number of instances, whether to have a Public IP and you’re set.


The hardware options are classified per VCPU, memory & storage capacity; pretty simple selection. Linux is the sole OS currently, with Ubuntu as the dominant alternative; HP vows to add more in the future.

Naming the size doesn’t look to follow a pattern as the “Xlarge” has more resources than “large” but “Xsmall” has less resources than “small”!

There are not much info about the internal works; I didn’t see enough info about CPU capacity, the storage tier or the virtualization (Rackspace & Amazon are using XEN as far as I know).

Testing an instance

– After creating an instance, you can attach a Public IP to it by just clicking a button.

– To connect to the instance, you are offered a private key file to use. Simple instructions are also offered

1- Download your private key file: hpdefault.pem
2- For SSH to work, ensure your key is protected:
chmod 400 hpdefault.pem
3- Open your SSH client (such as Terminal).
4- Connect via your server’s IP address

– I use Putty as SSH client. Since putty doesn’t understand PEM files, I used PUTTYgen to convert it to PPK format.

Connected to the public IP of the instance and used user name “ubuntu”. Following is for a “large” instance (4 VCPUs , 8GB RAM) with Ubuntu 11.10

login as: ubuntu
Authenticating with public key “imported-openssh-key”
Welcome to Ubuntu 11.10 (GNU/Linux 3.0.0-12-virtual x86_64)

* Documentation: https://help.ubuntu.com/

System information as of Sun Feb 5 22:26:09 UTC 2012

System load: 0.09 Users logged in: 1
Usage of /: 37.9% of 9.84GB IP address for eth0:
Memory usage: 77% IP address for vmnet1:
Swap usage: 0% IP address for vmnet8:
Processes: 165

Get cloud support with Ubuntu Advantage Cloud Guest

We can dig some hardware info

Looks like we have Intel here. The following entry repeats four times (4 VCPUs we have)

vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 2
model name : QEMU Virtual CPU version 0.14.0
stepping : 3
cpu MHz : 2666.760
cache size : 4096 KB
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 4
wp : yes
flags : fpu de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 syscall nx lm rep_good nopl pni cx16 popcnt hypervisor lahf_lm
bogomips : 5333.52
clflush size : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes : 40 bits physical, 48 bits virtual

I’ve been testing the machine for a bit so far and could run Windows 2008 under Vmware to test SQL server as well.


The current beta is pretty simple to use and works fine but I think HP has a lot of work to be done here including

## Stabilizing the environment: I’ve had problems powering some instances with no given reasons.

## There should be more “locations”, not only west coast, for fault-tolerance

## Offering more solutions like Microsoft & Other Apps.

## Better documentation & knowledge-base.

## More developer APIs and tools.

## Instance monitoring capability.

HP has a huge customer base across the board and can offer the solution to them to fit their needs so I think it can find adoption fast. However, for small business, Amazon is still preferred, since they have gone a long way here.


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