poor cloudThe public cloud sure is sexy right now, but for a specific type of company, the private cloud makes a lot of sense. Piston Cloud, based in San Francisco, today announced an $8 million series B from Cisco, Data Collective, Divergent Ventures, Hummer Winblad, Swisscom Ventures, and True Ventures to push its OpenStack offerings to the enterprise.

In all, the company has raised $12.5 million, after A and B rounds. Piston Cloud, a platform as a service (PaaS) company, says its sweet spot is automating the controls of hardware like virtual machines and nodes, making them less man-powered and removing the administrator when it comes to tasks like scaling out VMs.

For the non-technical among us, chief executive Jim Morrisroe provides the analogy: “Instead of buying a recipe for how to make bread, we are providing a loaf of bread in a package,” he said in an interview.

While the public cloud has opened up opportunities for different kinds of companies to compete and leave their infrastructure needs in outside hands, Morrisroe says there is good reason to take the operations in-house, depending on a company’s situation. He says the PaaS is especially beneficial for a company whose period of hyper-growth has plateaued. For more mature companies, it eventually also becomes a cost issue, “At some point, your bill to your cloud provider becomes more expensive than it costs to do it yourself,” he says.

Piston Cloud will use the new infusion of capital to help try to evolve OpenStack as a whole, as well as develop the company’s own technology and intellectual property. Aside from the product development, the company will also use the funds to expand its sales, support and marketing teams.

[Image courtesy Jared Cherup]