Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) has invested in Piston Cloud Computing, which develops an OpenStack distribution for private enterprise clouds. The investment comes only a few weeks after Cisco pumped money into Parallels, which develops cloud automation software. Is Cisco hedging its cloud bets? Sort of.

Generally speaking Parallels is used to stand up and automate public clouds. OpenStack can also be used in public clouds but does not necessarily compete with Parallels on all fronts. Also, OpenStack is gaining momentum as a private cloud platform that enterprises can use to deploy IaaS (infrastructure as a service).

Clearly, Cisco is spreading its chips around and making multiple public and private cloud bets. Piston Cloud raised $8 million in Series B funding -- with Cisco among those pumping money into the company.

At the same time, Cisco has been shedding lower-margin businesses that are not part of the company's long-term focus. The latest such move involved Cisco selling its Linksys business to Belkin.