From bottleneck to baller: The impact of multi-cloud automation in a real-world Cisco shop

By: Brad Parks

The last 12 months has been an amazing growth run here at Morpheus. We’ve tripled in size across a number of dimensions including the people that have joined our team. One of my favorites is a story I recently heard from one of our SE’s. If you happen to be at CiscoLive this coming week come visit us at BOOTH 3718 but in the meanwhile keep reading and get the first-hand view from his perspective.



‘My name is Chris and I was a bottleneck’. It sounds like the opening line from a 12 step program and in many ways it is. At the company I worked for prior to joining Morpheus last year I was the guy people came to when they needed new application stacks on our Cisco + VMware infrastructure.


It took way more than 12 steps to get anything done and I constantly felt like the bad guy. It’s important to note that this wasn’t some old legacy company’ we were one of the largest financial institutions in the country and even defined ourselves as a technology company that did mortgages very well.


The process entailed multiple ticketing systems and approvals multiplied by hundreds of provisioning requests. I spent so much time putting out fires that provisioning kept getting pushed out. It took 30 days to 60 days just to load a base OS on a VM and get resources back to our development teams. As a result, developers started spinning up their own public cloud accounts. We ended up not knowing where much of our information resided: we had multiple sandboxes with no controls, and the spend was crazy.


Finally, the bottleneck hit a breaking point. The combination of on-premises delays and the agility of the public cloud led to a decision that we would be migrated 100% to the public cloud over the next 5 years. As part of the cloud-first mandate, we investigated several cloud management platforms and automation options. We tried out VMware vRealize Automation, RedHat CloudForms, and several smaller CMP providers.


At the end of our RFP process and bake-off there was only one cloud management platform that was as agile as we wanted to be: Morpheus. In addition to offering the easiest management, Morpheus was 100% agnostic so we didn’t worry about being locked into a specific hardware or hypervisor platform. We had Morpheus running in an hour, and moving from PoCs to production took only three months.


Hey Chris’ the Cisco UCS is out of space?


So here’s a problem I never thought I’d have as a system engineer: Once teams started using Morpheus, we couldn’t get them to stop. Saying Morpheus performed better than we expected is an understatement. Knowing we were headed in the public-cloud direction we made a large UCS purchase that was going to be the last servers we ever needed. I’d filled the chassis 25% of the way initially knowing we’d bring new blades online over the next couple of years while simultaneously shifting workloads to public cloud. Seemed like a reasonable plan but I hadn’t counted on the Morpheus effect.


We could’ve never anticipated the positive ripple effects of that hardware purchase and our adoption of Morpheus. The new Cisco servers had four domains for two data centers, a pair of fabric interconnects, and four chassis each for a total of 32 chassis, each half-populated. The first eight blades were saturated in 45 days, so we spun up the remainder right away. In less than one year, the new servers had reached max capacity and we had to buy more blades.


We had considered the in-house operation merely a placeholder until we could completely migrate to the public cloud. But whenever business units would ask about going to the public cloud, our engineers would respond by saying, “Morpheus is faster.” After implementing Morpheus, we chewed through the provisioning backlog in only 30 days.


In that first year of using Morpheus, we spun up more than 1000 new machines and ingested the entire brownfield. The order backlog that made me the bottleneck was obliterated. Users were so happy with Morpheus that we would’ve had to pry the service from their cold, dead hands. Okay, hyperbole aside, bringing Morpheus into our data centers led to a 180-degree turnaround: more speed, more efficiency, fewer fires to put out, and above all, happier users.


Sometimes, finding the perfect tool makes all the difference. The transformation was so impactful I became a raving fan (obviously) and recently joined the Morpheus team to help spread the good news. Learn about how big an impact Morpheus can have on your organization’s operations by requesting a demo.


If you happen to be at CiscoLive or HPE Discover in the coming weeks stop by the booth and say hello.