Enterprise storage hardware giant EMC is buying Cloudscaling, one of the earliest startups to sell a distribution of the OpenStack open-source cloud software.

A Bloomberg article today reported on the deal’s occurrence, putting the transaction at less than $50 million. Neither CloudScaling nor EMC would immediately comment, only pointing to the Bloomberg report.

The move comes after another enterprise hardware heavyweight, Cisco, bought OpenStack startup Metacloud. Meanwhile VMware recently announced an OpenStack distribution of its own.

Today’s EMC deal brings with it a visible cloud executive in Cloudscaling founder and chief executive Randy Bias, who has consistently proven vocal in his belief in OpenStack but emphasized the importance of integrating with the application programming interfaces (APIs) of Amazon Web Services, the largest public cloud around. Recently HP bought Eucalyptus, a cloud startup that supported AWS APIs in corporate data centers.

Ultimately the EMC deal could have the effect of ensuring companies keep buying EMC gear even if they want to run OpenStack in their data centers and circumvent, say, VMware’s proprietary cloud software.

San Francisco-based Cloudscaling started in 2006 and raised a $10 million round last year. Investors include Trinity Ventures, network gear maker Juniper, and storage vendor Seagate.

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