Summary:

Piston Cloud will use its dough — from new investors including Cisco, Data Collective and Swiscomm Ventures — to bolster its “differentiated” technology that will run on the OpenStack cloud.

Piston Cloud CEO Jim Morrisroe
photo: Piston Cloud

Piston Cloud has raised $8 million in new funding to fuel its push its enterprise-focused OpenStack offerings. The series B round for Piston (see disclosure) includes money from new investors Cisco Systems, Data Collective and Swisscom Ventures. In addition, Divergent Ventures, Hummer Winblad and True Ventures, which all participated in a $4.5 million Series A round last year, also contributed.

San Francisco-based Piston plans to hire more engineers and invest more in “differentiated IP” that runs atop the OpenStack cloud stack that will appeal to enterprise accounts, CEO Jim Morrisroe saidpistonscreen in an interview. Further down the road it will also boost sales and marketing activities toward that same end. Company headcount is now at about 30 and he would like to double that by the end of the year.

The OpenStack open-source cloud effort, born three years ago out of initial work by Rackspace and NASA, now has a ton of vendor support, with Rackspace, HP, InterNAP, Dell, Cloudscaling and other companies building self-branded OpenStack clouds. Meanwhile, all of this OpenStack crowd also compete with Eucalyptus and CloudStack open-source clouds in many accounts.

Corporate adoption lags all this vendor action, but that’s only natural, Morrisroe said. Asked whether there would be enough paying customers to keep all these contenders alive, Morrisroe was pragmatic: “It’s just like anything at the beginning. The hype leads reality but companies that deserve to exist will exist and others will exit,” he said.

Disclosure: Piston is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

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