Favorite IT metaphors, sayings & aphorisms

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.

Some of the metaphors/thoughts below are funny. Some are so terrible I’m embarassed to write them. Others are good, but could be better. There’s no real organization to them, but I hope you find them useful nonetheless.

Enough. On with the metaphors, sayings & aphorisms!

Metaphor,Meaning[attr style=”width:200px” class=”someclass”],Origin/Notes
Dark side of the moon, Waiting for a host or device to reply to pings after reload/reboot, NASA obviously
Eat our own dogfood, Applying same policies/tech/experience to IT that apply to users, Not sure but heard on TWiT
DNS is like a phonebook, Computers speak in numbers humans speak in words, My own metaphor to explain DNS problems
Fat finger, A stupid mistake in perhaps an otherwise solid plan (eg IP address keyed incorrectly), Former boss/Homer Simpson?
Go FQDN or Go Home, Admonishment to correct lazy IT tendency to code/build with IP addresses rather than FQDN, My own
Garbage in Garbage Out, You get out of a system that which you put in, Unknown but s/he was brilliant
This ____ is like a princess, A server or service that is high-profile/important but prone to failure and drama without constant attention, My own
Cadillac Solution, A high-priced solution to a problem that may require only ingenuity/dilligence, My own but really…Cadillac…I’m so old
The Sun Never Sets on Infrastructure, A reference to the 24/7 nature of Infrastructure stack demand by way of the British Empire, I used this metaphor extensively in last job
Infrastructure is Roads/Applications are cars/Users are drivers, Reference to the classic split in IT departments, Former colleague
Two Houses Both Alike in Dignity, Another reference to AppDev & Infrastructure divide in IT, My own liberal abuse of Shakespeare’s opening line in R&J
Child Partition/Parent Partition, Reference to me and my son in light of Hypervisor technology, My own
Supervisor Module, Reference to wife-as-Sup7203B Linecard in 650xE chassis switch, The packets flow where she tells them to flow

Code is poetry, There is something more to technology than just making things work, Google but adapted by me for scripting and configs

Going full Fibonacci, The joy & euphoria inherent in a well-designed subnetting plan wherein octets are harmonized & everything just fits, My own abuse of the famed Fibonacci 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 IT, A poor but descriptive term to describe dysfunctional IT departments, My own I think

When I was a Child I thought as a Child, How 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 reference, Useful in IT Purchasing decisions

IT White Whale, Highly technical problems I haven’t solved yet and obsess over, Borrowed from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick