Simple WAF, Load balancing and GSLB explanation for the non-technical

I recently needed to explain what a Loadbalancer, WAF and GSLB is/does in the simplest way possible so I thought I would try and test it out on my 6 year old Boy Charlie.

For some reason he was not as enthusiastic about this as I was so I needed to change the analogy slightly (Always Lego or Animals seems to work)

I bring you the monkey Load Balancing, WAF and GSLB Analogy 🙂

In reality there are many new people joining our wonderful industry every day so maybe someone else may get something from this 🙂 (or at least have a laugh)

# NoMonkeysWereHurtInThisProduction

Banana = User request

Monkey =  Application server


The Load balancer

  • Lots of people send in Bananas  to feed the monkeys – A lot more than one monkey  could eat!
  • We have to share the bananas between the monkeys so everyone gets a fair amount
  • We also need to health check the monkeys to know if they are poorly or too full up and then not to send them any more bananas for a while
  • Sometimes we even  change even the feeding policy so the big monkeys get more food or the faster eaters keep getting fed!



The monkey (M)WAF – Web Application Firewall


  • It is important to look after the monkeys and keep them safe
  • Lots of people send bananas to the monkeys and we don’t know much about these people
  • Some of the people are unkind and want to make the monkeys unwell
  • Our job is to work out who just wants to feed the monkeys and who it trying to make them unwell.
  • This is hard as most bananas look very similar
  • Sometimes bad people even send in something that looks like a banana to trick the monkey into eating it and making them sick that could then spread to other animals in the zoo.
  • Sometimes  naughty people send loads and loads of bad Bananas to the monkeys so that there is no space for the nice bananas (DDOS 😉 )

GSLB – Global Server Load Balancer

Not sure if this one works so well : -) Anyhow…

  • We need to decide how many bananas get sent to the different zoos
  • Sometimes the monkeys live at different zoos, Some zoos are fixed and some move about.
  • Sometime the zoos are very far apart – even different countries!
  • It is important there are always monkeys to eat the bananas so it’s a good idea to have then in different places in case they all catch something in one zoo.
  • Some zoos only have monkeys when other zoos are full so there is no point wasting bananas sending them to an empty zoo
  • Some zoos have monkeys that are very full up or not well and should not be eating any more.
  • Some zoos are much larger than others and need more bananas (as long as the monkeys are all well)
  • Sometimes its best to feed the local zoo as it takes a long time to go and feed one that could even be in a different country!


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