In my Linkedin Profile, I write that I’m a fan of “elaborate IT Metaphors” yet, in a very literal way, I’ve never actually written a list of my favorites.

 

Listing out my favorite IT metaphors, sayings, aphorisms and such is risky. Too much pithiness, and I risk not being taken seriously. Too much cynicism and no one wants to talk to you.

 

And yet I must take that risk, because if you’re a practitioner of the IT arts as I am, then you’re used to engaging in these sorts of thoughtful/silly/humorous reflections.

 

Or maybe you don't but will find humor and value in them nonetheless. Enjoy and if you like, add your own!

 

MetaphorMeaningUsed in SentenceOrigin/Notes
Dark side of the moonWaiting for a host or device to reply to pings after reload/rebootServer's gone dark side of the moon, standby.NASA obviously
Eat our own dogfoodApplying same policies/tech/experience to IT that apply to usersThat dogfood tastes pretty nasty and we've been dishing it out to our users for yearsNot sure but heard on TWiT
DNS is like a phonebookComputers speak in numbers humans speak in wordsLook, it works like a phonebook, alright? Do you remember those things?My own metaphor to explain DNS problems
Fat fingerA stupid mistake in perhaps an otherwise solid plan (eg IP address keyed incorrectly)Jeff totally fat fingered itFormer boss/Homer Simpson?
Go FQDN or Go HomeAdmonishment to correct lazy IT tendency to code/build with IP addresses rather than FQDNThere are to be no IP addresses listed on the support page. Go FQDN or Go Home, son.My own
Garbage in Garbage OutYou get out of a system that which you put inI can't make beautiful pivots with a GIGOed setUnknown but s/he was brilliant
Debutante in the DatacenterA server or service that is high-profile/important but prone to failure and drama without constant attentionHyperion is doing its debutante thing againHeard it from someone somewhere in time
Cadillac SolutionA high-priced solution to a problem that may require only ingenuity/dilligenceDon't come to me with a Cadillac solution when a Kia will doMy own but really…Cadillac…I'm so old
The Sun Never Sets on InfrastructureA reference to the 24/7 nature of Infrastructure stack demand by way of the British EmpireAnd the sun never sets on our XenApp farm, so schedule your maintenanceI used this metaphor extensively in last job
Infrastructure is Roads/Applications are cars/Users are driversReference to the classic split in IT departmentsSee hereFormer colleague
Two Houses Both Alike in DignityAnother reference to AppDev & Infrastructure divide in IT-My own liberal abuse of Shakespeare's opening line in R&J
Child Partition/Parent PartitionReference to me and my son in light of Hypervisor technologyChild partition is totally using up all my spare compute cyclesMy own
Code is poetryThere is something more to technology than just making things work/be an aristan technologistJust look at that script, this guy's a poet!Google but adapted by me for scripting and configs
Going full FibonacciThe joy & euphoria inherent in a well-designed subnetting or routing plan wherein octets and route summaries are harmonized & everything just fitsHe went full Fibonacci to save memory on the routerMy own abuse of the famedFibonacci Sequence which honestly has nothing to do with IP subnetting and more to do with Dan Brown. Also applies to MAC address pools because encoding your MAC address pools is fun
Dystopian ITDysfunctional IT departmentsI thought I was going to work in the future, not some dystopian nightmare IT group!Not sure
When I was a Child I thought as a ChildHow I defend poor technical decisions that haunt me years later-A (perhaps blasphemous) homage to St. Paul
There are three ____ and the greatest of these is ____Another St. Paul referenceAnd then there were three storage systems: file, block and object, and the greatest of these is fileUseful in IT Purchasing decisions
IT White WhaleHighly technical problems I haven't solved yet and obsess overI've been hunting this white whale for what seems like foreverBorrowed from Herman Melville's Moby Dick
Servers are cattle, not petsA pithy & memorable phrase to remind systems guys not to get attached to physical or virtual servers, to view them as cattle that are branded at birth, worked hard throughout life, then slaughtered without pomp or circumstance. No more Star Wars references as  server names, ok? It's a cow, not your pet labrador! The guys who built Chef
Drawer of TearsThe drawer in your desk/lab where failed ideas -represented by working parts- go. My drawer of tears is filled with Raspberry Pis/Surface RTs etc Yeah I tried that once, ended up in the drawer of tearsMy own