How to conquer cloud complexity by solving for the right problem

By: Brad Parks

We’re a couple of months post-Dell EMC world, on the heels of Cisco Live and in advance of HPE Discover and VMworld. Given that timing, I feel compelled to put pen to paper to discuss the macro level chessboard and relative value (or not) for customers coming out of these mega-vendors.

Industry changes and growth rates on cloud computing have been written about ad nauseum so this isn’t meant to go deep on financials… however, here’s the short version




In this corner’ weighing in at 57% of total spend but declining steadily is the traditional IT market. While no vendor likes being called ‘traditional’ we mean servers, storage, networking and anything else that isn’t directly related to the cloud tsunami. And in this corner’ rapidly picking up speed with $50B in spend and whopping 20% CAGR is cloud-related IT spend.

Dell (including EMC and VMware), HPE, and Cisco are all heavyweights in that traditional category while wonderkids AWS, Azure, and Google dominate the hipster neighborhood. The old guard is doing whatever it takes to reinvent themselves as relevant in a world coming apart like a deconstructed dish by Ferran Adria.

This includes partnerships and promises of collaboration such as the one that Cisco has ‘penciled-in’ for Q3 with Google, what VMware is working with AWS, and HPE’s long-standing Microsoft alliance. It’s a bit like me standing next to all the XXL dads at kiddo pick-up time to feel slightly better about my waistline.


Think about what you are doing to your kids!

I saw lots of articles this past week reflecting on news from the legacy vendors including good ones by Torsten Volk of EMA and Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor. who said ‘I trust Cisco when it comes to servers, switching, and routing hardware’. However, when it comes to cloud strategy, Cisco isn’t near to gaining my trust for vision.’

One reason these IT giants might be struggling in vision is they are caught between a rock and a hard place. They need to insert themselves into the migration off-premises but they are also inherently disincentivized when it comes to decoupling customers from their hardware.


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The question I wanted to ask all of those entering into these ‘marriages of convenience’ is what about the customers? Has anyone stopped to think about what’s best for them? We talk to large enterprises every day and it’s clear they are fed up with being at the mercy of the large vendor community.

Lock-in is inevitable (and not inherently evil) so the question is not about how to avoid lock-in but rather how do you lock yourself into a scenario that provides you with the maximum agility and minimum amount of pain. We’re bringing more and more customers on board with Morpheus as a neutral layer to insulate from complexity as well as insulate from vendor madness. Time to take your power back.

In one of the recent Cisco announcements, a senior exec said, “Workload placement should be a business decision, not a result of technology limitations”. We couldn’t agree more and while abstraction itself is not an abstract concept (see what I did just there) customers are looking to move beyond where most of these vendors are focused.


Time to give complexity the bird

Cloud rockstar David Linthicum wrote a great article in InfoWorld recently titled ‘How to avoid the coming cloud complexity crisis‘. In the article, he observes that with hundreds of workloads being added to the cloud without a decrease in on-premises resources there is a train wreck coming. His sage advice is to create a complexity management plan, select the right tools to manage complexity, and set up new processes. The warning he ended with was ‘If you this do right, you’ll have a very productive next ten years. If you do this wrong, chances are that you’ll drown in your own work. Take your pick.’

It’s that advice that leads me to the Albatross. More specifically a the Gossamer Albatross, a human-powered aircraft developed by Paul MacCready. Mr. MacCready is considered to be one of the best mechanical engineers of the 20thcentury and famously said: ‘The problem is we don’t understand the problem.’

Backstory’ early in his career, MacCready tackled a decades-old challenge to address the question of if a human-powered aircraft could cross the English Channel. Dozens of teams had tried and failed to build such an aircraft and it was widely thought to be impossible. When our hero faced the challenge, he realized that in those failures, teams would spend a year building their plan based on theory then test it, fail, and go back to the drawing board for another year.


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His reframed problem was not about human-powered flight at all. Rather, it was to design a plane that could be modified and rebuilt in hours. He answered that problem and ultimately won the contest. It’s one of the first and best examples of ‘failing fast’ and designing for maximum agility.

This same mantra is at the heart of the Cloud and DevOps equation and the conundrum faced by traditional vendors. They are designed for the wrong problem. In their case, it’s how to protect their cash cow estates. Morpheus, on the other hand, was designed by IT Ops and Developers to enable rapid application deployment and lifecycle management in a 100% infrastructure agnostic world. Our founders built Morpheus for themselves and it was only several years later they decided to open it up to the masses.

Now, with over 200,000 instances deployed and under our belt we’ve learned a bit about hybrid IT. If you abstract high enough in the stack, you can deploy, rebuild, and move your applications across vendors, development platforms, and clouds in a matter of minutes. It’s not cheating on your favorite vendor, it’s simply giving you leverage to pick the best path at any point in time with unlimited freedom of choice down the road.

Our customers can blueprint an application and develop, deploy, and scale across a mix of bare metal, virtualized, and containerized components spanning Dell, HPE, Cisco, IBM, etc. as well as any public cloud provider. We give them a full fidelity API for developers, a simple GUI and role-based access for Ops teams, and hooks to orchestrate and automate over 75 different technologies in the stack to address the complexity crisis.


If you’d like to learn more reach out and setup time for a demo with one of our solution architects. You’ll be glad you did.