Piston Cloud Bags $8M, Attracts Cisco with OpenStack Software

Today, OpenStack distributor Piston Cloud announced that it has raised eight million bucks in a second round of funding. Cisco, Data Collective and Swisscom Ventures join Divergent Ventures, Hummer Winblad and True Ventures as principal investors.

Piston Cloud has raised $13 million in capital to date. That’s the sum of this latest $8 million financing, a $4.5 million Series A round from July 2011, and $500,000 in seed funding.

“Our investors’ confidence in Piston Cloud validates our strategy and the pioneering work we have done over the last two plus years in the OpenStack community,” said Jim Morrisroe, the chief executive officer of Piston Cloud. “This new investment will enable us to build on this foundation and to accelerate our growth as we work to enhance our products, grow our customer base and establish new partnerships.”

Piston Cloud is the latest company to get caught up in Cisco’s startup spending spree. A week ago the networking equipment maker bought out a Czech network security firm, and shortly before that it shelled out nearly half a billion dollars for a software-driven telecommunications solutions provider. Piston Cloud is of interest to Cisco because of Quantum, the software-defined networking component of OpenStack.  The vendor is pursuing every opportunity to get an edge on SDN because this emerging industry has already started biting away at its core business.

Piston’s software line-up makes it easier for enterprises to configure and manage OpenStack services. In August last year the company released Airframe, a freely downloadable fork that takes care of installation and reduces deployment time to about 10 minutes. The distribution addresses the simplification of IT, a trend that’s sweeping through the entire data center from the network to the database.