VM Analogy question

Throughout my career, I have relied on the use of analogies to help clients understand certain technical concepts. Saying "Think of bandwidth as a water pipe" kind of thing.

I am struggling with coming up with a good one for virtual machines. More and more nowadays the discussion of virtual servers and virtual desktops are coming up. I just haven't found that magic descriptor or explanation that covers it. The clients nod and all that, but I don't think they fully 'get it'.

Does anyone have any things they use? Some ideas?

Tony NormanShow less
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I would think at the worlds in our heads in contrast with the palpable reality.
For instance the dream. It is real, but is in your head. You cannot touch it with your physical senses. The same as ideas and imagination.
Maybe Inception is a good movie to refer too, and perhaps few more, an old one The Lawnmower Man.
Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
what about 'Computer simulation' of hardware...
David Johnson, CD, MVPRetiredCommented:
think of a server as an apartment building with no walls. The building has shared resources (heat, light, power) a computer has shared resources i.e. compute, disk, network. Many servers have excess capacity in these 3 areas.  So we add some walls (virtual machines) and make apartments that share the heat/light/power) (computer resources)

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