Review: HP Cloud challenges Amazon and Google

HP's OpenStack-based IaaS cloud blends openness and portability with nice proprietary extras and welcome hand-holding

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Hewlett-Packard may be best known for its ubiquitous printers and laptops, but in the enterprise world, it is just as recognized for its servers. Now that the idea of the cloud is taking over, HP is joining the marketplace and renting some of its servers in the HP Cloud.

The servers are priced by the hour just like everyone else's, but though these machines may be commodities like hamburgers, there are differences, just as there are differences between Burger King and McDonald's.

[ From Amazon to Windows Azure, see how the elite 8 public clouds compare in InfoWorld Test Center's review. | Move over, Amazon -- IaaS providers are elbowing into the cloud | Stay on top of the cloud with InfoWorld's "Cloud Computing Deep Dive" special report and Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

For instance, HP offers a longer list of Linux distributions for your new server slice than some of the others. You can get the classics such as Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS in many of the best-known versions. If you know what you're going to do with the machine, you can start right up with a Bitnami distribution sporting a number of pre-installed applications like Drupal.

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