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Hewlett-Packard is taking the latest steps in its efforts to become a major cloud computing player, launching the private beta for two public cloud services.

The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings, announced Sept. 7, are HP Cloud Compute and HP Cloud Object Storage, and offer a combination of HP hardware and software technologies as well as the OpenStack open-source cloud software stack.

“At HP Cloud Services, our goal is to provide the next generation of cloud infrastructure, platform services and cloud solutions for developers, ISVs, and businesses of all sizes,” Emil Sayegh, vice president in HP s Cloud Services business, said in a post on the company s Scaling the Cloud blog. “We recognize that public cloud services should be open and transparent from end-to-end across APIs, infrastructure and software stack.”

HP joined the OpenStack initiative in July a day after rival Dell did with Sayegh saying at the time that HP already was playing an active role in the effort.

The move is taking HP closer to competing more directly with public cloud giants Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Rackspace. In addition, it comes a week after Dell announced its own IaaS offering, based on a partnership with virtualization technology vendor VMware.

HP s public cloud beta initially will incorporate HP Cloud Compute, which enables users to access compute power in an on-demand fashion. They also can customize their instances to more closely fit their workload demands and can scale them if the need arises, according to HP. In addition, HP Cloud Object Storage enables users to access online storage on demand.

The services will be free during the beta timeframe, and users reportedly will be charged on a pay-per-use fashion once they go live. The services will feature a Web-based user interface and RESTful APIs, company officials said. HP already has tested the services with a small group of users and now is looking to expand the user base, according to Sayegh.

Users can register for the program at the HP Website.

HP is joining a growing crowd in the cloud. Along with the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Rackspace, a number of other top-tier tech vendors, including Oracle and Google, are looking to make inroads. For its part, Dell has been aggressive over the last couple of months in expanding its cloud computing capabilities.

In July, Dell officials announced the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, a combination of the OpenStack software offerings and its own PowerEdge servers. Dell said the solution also includes the vendor s Crowbar OpenStack installer, which the company is releasing to the open-source community.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: HP Unveils Private Cloud Service Beta Program