Service Provider Cloud

Explaining OpenStack With Wacky Analogies

Virtual machines, containers, and bare metal are like different kinds of offices
Using a bare metal server is like leasing a whole office building for your company, or having one constructed, Britten said. You get to control every detail, such as how many bathrooms and break rooms are on every floor and where they're located.

A virtual machine is like an office suite. You share common facilities in the building with other companies. You have your own bathrooms and breakrooms, and control space, but it's still within the confines of the building.

And a container is like renting a single office. You can get it for as short as a day or a few hours. Core services are pre-built. You don't get a lot of control but you do get a lot of flexibility on how long the lease runs.

Containers share computing resources, but they get their own stapler.
Containers share computing resources, but they get their own stapler.

Interoperability is like power outlets
The OpenStack API is like a plug that goes into a power outlet, said Tahir. You can plug in a toaster, or a laptop, or whatever device you want. You can connect a device in your office, home, a hotel, or wherever you want to go. "You can get a power adapter in the car and plug in your blender for margaritas," Tyler said.

In OpenStack, the cloud-native application relying on the OpenStack API is like the toaster relying on the socket to draw power.

Pretty good analogy.

Other analogies:

Block storage vs. object storage is like parking your Porsche
You can rent a storage unit for your Porsche, which is like block storage. Or you can just hand the keys to a valet, which is like object storage.

This is a good example of where metaphors break down, which is when the listener starts thinking about the metaphor rather than the thing that's being explained. Rather than thinking about OpenStack, I started wondering why a person would want to put their car in a storage unit rather than a parking garage. Then I started thinking about Silence of the Lambs. Wasn't there a serial killer in that movie who put a vintage car in a storage unit and then it turned out there was a severed head in the car? Are severed heads somehow a part of OpenStack?

I did not like that metaphor.

Ate the cloud storage capacity with fava beans and a nice Chianti.
Ate the cloud storage capacity with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Networking and SDN are like mail delivery
"Mail is a very classic networking analogy," Britten noted. Technologists use mail quite a bit to explain networking. And mail can be used to explain the difference between physical networking and SDN.

With physical networking, you write a letter, put it in an envelope, and hand it to the mailman -- the closest router, Britten said.

SDN is like inter-office mail, where you just have to put the recipient's name on the outside of the envelope, and you hand it to your internal mail delivery person. Sometimes, the letter goes to a co-worker who works far away, in which case the mail workers stuff your envelope into a big envelope that goes to that other office, and that big envelope needs an address. But that part of the process is hidden from you.

Next page: Mailing it in

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arikyakir 10/27/2016 | 2:35:46 PM
Block storage & storage object Well, i did liked the Block storage/storage object methapore, maybe because i don't have a Porsche to distract my mind... ?  ;-)

Michelle 10/27/2016 | 2:59:34 PM
You know, it's like something you know mixed with the unknown These are all great!


What is OpenStack? :)
R Clark 10/27/2016 | 8:52:18 PM
Avoid questions That person who asked about applying the bar analogy to hybrid clouds: cautionary tale that you want your analogies to work well, but not so well that they encourage questions.
Mitch Wagner 10/28/2016 | 9:26:28 AM
Re: Block storage & storage object Advantage of a 13-year-old car: You don't worry about where you're going to park it. 
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