HP puts OpenStack cloud into public beta

OpenStack marches on. On Thursday, Hewlett-Packard (s HPQ) put its public cloud based on the open source OpenStack technology into public beta. The services had been available to a limited number of customers up until now.

OpenStack co-founder Rackspace (s rax) made its OpenStack cloud generally available May 1, as planned. Internap has fielded OpenStack-based services since last fall. Other industry giants, including IBM(s ibm) and Red Hat (s rhat), are also backing the open-source cloud stack as a hedge against the growing power of Amazon(s amzn) Web Services.

Hewlett-Packard’s offerings include HP Cloud ComputeHP Cloud Object Storage and HP Cloud Content Delivery Network, with pay-as-you-go pricing here.

And to position its cloud as a welcoming ecosystem, HP lined up an array of partners including TwinStrata, Panzura, StorSimple and Zmanda in storage. ActiveState, CloudBees, CumuLogic, Engine Yard, and GigaSpaces are aboard as platform as a service (PaaS) providers.

As Amazon keeps adding more cloud services and as VMware(s vmw) continues to push its own cloud vision powered by vSphere virtualization, the raging debate is whether OpenStack is too late to the party. Backers say cloud adoption is still early and many businesses don’t want to entrust their workloads to Amazon’s public cloud. A variety of other companies, including Tier 3, have launched their own enterprise-grade cloud services.

As for HP itself, the company’s had more than its share of issues of late — burning through three CEOs in as many years — but it’s still a formidable power. It could make a dent in the cloud services market if it plays its cards right, and Zorawar “Biri” Singh, SVP of HP Cloud Services,  has been nothing if not aggressive in his cloud plans.

One thing is certain: This battle’s going to get more interesting before it’s over.