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First HP made a high-profile cloud move by buying startup Eucalyptus last week. Today another legacy tech company, Cisco, shot back, buying a startup called Metacloud. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Metacloud picked up attention in the past couple of years for making it easy for companies to deploy the OpenStack open-source cloud software in their on-premises data centers. And earlier this year, Metacloud made a compelling move by coming out with a hosted OpenStack option that companies could easily turn on in Metacloud’s data centers.

Other startups, like Mirantis and Piston, have been capturing attention — although not necessarily huge revenues — at the same time as Metacloud simply by being OpenStack distribution vendors. But the hosted and hybrid options offered by Metacloud might have made it stand out when the time came for Cisco to consider its options, especially following HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus, which provides cloud capabilities in company data centers that are compatible with the application programming interfaces (APIs) of market-leading public cloud Amazon Web Services.

Not that Cisco was motivated to act exclusively by the HP deal. Early this year Cisco revealed a billion-dollar cloud strategy, dubbed Intercloud, that would see the networking hardware giant construct a fleet of data centers around the world in conjunction with partners. And it’s all supposed to be based on OpenStack. It looks like acquisitions will contribute part of the underlying infrastructure to assemble Cisco’s grand Intercloud.

“Metacloud OpenStack will advance the Intercloud offering by being the interface to the end-developers and dev-ops teams building, deploying, and operating hybrid cloud applications,” founder and chief executive Sean Lynch wrote in a blog post today.

At the same time, buying Metacloud gives Cisco some formidable cloud talent. Cloud evangelists Scott Sanchez and Niki Acosta left cloud and hosting provider Rackspace to join Metacloud in June. Others at the startup, like Lynch, spent several years in technology roles at Ticketmaster. Conner Grey, the startup’s vice president of operations, spent almost seven years at Google, working as a site reliability engineering manager.

Pasadena, Calif.-based Metacloud started in 2011 and announced a $15 million funding round in May. Investors include AME Cloud Ventures, Canaan Partners, Pelion Venture Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Storm Ventures, and UMC Capital.

Metacloud customers include SK Planet, Ooyala, and Tapjoy.

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