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Piston brings OpenStack expertise for the private cloud sector Cisco said.

By Barb Darrow
June 3, 2015

It was only a matter of time before someone snapped up Piston Cloud. And the winner is: Cisco. It is bringing the OpenStack-cloud oriented company aboard as part of its cloud services team, the company said Tuesday morning. The deal presumably helps Cisco catch up with Amazon in the public cloud race.

Terms were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Cisco gets 38 Piston employees, including engineers, developers and customer support people who will remain in Piston’s San Francisco offices, according to Scott Sanchez, director of product strategy for Cisco’s cloud efforts. The Piston team will join the CSCO Cloud Services group under Faiyaz Shahpurwala, senior vice president, Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services Organization.

Cisco started out positioning itself as a sort of arms-dealer to other vendor’s clouds. It figured it could sell a ton of routers, switches and other gear to those customers. But the massive cloud providers don’t necessarily buy a ton of branded hardware for their data centers. So, last year it shifted and said it would build—with partners—a worldwide network of clouds, called Intercloud— running on OpenStack. It also bought Metacloud, a respected provider of managed OpenStack clouds in September.

Sanchez, who joined Cisco via the Metacloud deal, said Piston and Metacloud are a good “peanut-butter-and-jelly” match in that Piston focused on automated deployment capabilities that ease installation of OpenStack technology while Metacloud focused on operating the clouds once they were set up.

Cisco, like its legacy hardware rivals HP HPQ and IBM IBM are rushing to catch up with Amazon AMZN Web Services which leads the league by far, at least in shared public cloud infrastructure. Earlier today Fortune reported that Oracle ORCL has picked up intellectual property, as well as former employees, from Nebula, yet another OpenStack-focused company that shut down in April.

This story was updated at 9:42 a.m. EDT with Scott Sanchez’s comments and additional detail.

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