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488 posts

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Topic # 191700 12-Feb-2016 21:19
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I found a few older threads that discuss naming conventions of computer and technical equipment and they are locked or don't quite have discussions around good or best practice, rather the contributors have said what they use.

 

I'm in the enviable position of having to rebuild an IT infrastructure that is somewhat spread out and a great deal of what will be happening in the next few months will be around consolidation, so naming servers by their function, example FILESRV01, would be bad if that server also hosted another service. The short lived Engineer before me decided to start naming the servers by location and function, also throwing in a #p# or #t# to denote production or test, but as we use a redundant multisite service that falls back when needed, these server names don't really tie up to what they could be doing where. For example, the production server in location A might fail and the test server in B is put in as a backup. then I found the Domain Controllers simply excluded this naming convention - DC1, DC2 etc.... duh!

 

I'm in a multi site, at the moment, multiple services with hot standby sites and using tools like VMware HA so it is possible, in some scenarios, that virtual server locations can change overnight.

 

I like the idea that servers are named after asset tags as most multi sites have inventory software that can track this easily and tie the servername back to other systems or operational procedures, but then how do you tag a virtual server? A made up asset tag?

 

I though about using asset tags for physical devices and #vm# to denote virtual services, so a physical server in location AB would be AB-[ASSET] and a virtual server would be VM-[ASSET], where the asset tag is made up but stuck to so we can track what software is installed where... it still seems incomplete to me, though.

 

I know many larger multisite, virtualised IT departments have this dilemma, how are you naming your servers, and VMs? Where have you stumbled over your naming conventions in the past and what advice would you give to your junior administrator self if you could?

 

 

 

Edited for spelling and clarity....


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  Reply # 1491417 12-Feb-2016 21:44
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slightly off topic but you can request they be unlocked :)

 

some of the physical servers are just called esx01, 02 etc

 

virtual stuff on our primary network our servers are named by 3 letters for the location, 3 letters for the function and 2 digits for the number ie 01 for the first one, etc etc. we have multiple locations with their own networks, and each server does the same thing at those locations so its common knowledge that ADC02 contains the secondary domain controller and the anti virus software management for example. all the networks are linked together through one main network.

 

on our secondary network they have 2 letters for the network suffix, 3 letters for the location, 3 letters for the function and 2 digits for the number ie 01 for the first one, etc etc

 

all our desktops etc are named by 1 letter for the type of device ie w for workstation, 3 letters for location then the asset tag number

 

there are a few less commonly used conventions in there for some other devices


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  Reply # 1491430 12-Feb-2016 22:07
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There is no right solution for this, just ensure that whatever convention you use you stick to it for everything. Consistency is key.

 

For my environment Ive used the following:

 

[DomainPrefix][Type][Site][Number]

 

The only slight modification I make is for servers being

 

[DomainPrefix][Type][Site][Role][Number]

 

Lets say I was John Smith Plumbing with an internal domain jspdomain.jsplumbing.co.nz. My 3 letter Domain Prefix would be JSP. My Type would be SRV for server, NWS for network switch, DPC for PCs, LAP for laptop/tablets (or split them up to TAB for tablets), PRN for printers etc etc. Site is where you have multi locations (ie WG for wellington, AK for auckland etc).

 

So examples would be:
JSPDPCWG01 (02, 03, 04 etc) for desktops
JSPLAPAK01 (02, 03, 04 etc) for laptops
JSPPRNTP01 (02, 03, 04 etc) for printers (in Taupo)

 

For servers there is a slight deviation where we put the role of the server into the name.
JSPSRVWGDC01 (02, 03 etc) for Domain controllers
JSPSRVAKIIS01 (02, 03 etc) for IIS web servers etc etc.JSPSRVTPLNX01 (02, 03 etc) for Linux servers based in Taupo

 

More examples are DA for direct access, SCCM for config manager, WSUS for wsus servers and the list goes on. Whilst I try to keep all prefixes to use the same amount of characters (ie 3 for domain prefix, 3 for type etc) Im a bit more lenient for the role prefix. As long as the item name doesnt take up more than 15 characters we are sweet. This makes it easy to identify, what the item is (server, desktop, printer or switch), the location of it and if its a server what sort of role it is doing. Some times a server might be serving 2 roles but you just have to make an executive decision to pick the main one that you will remember the most (ie DCs usually have DNS and DHCP installed).

 

 


 
 
 
 


JWR

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  Reply # 1491438 12-Feb-2016 22:31

 

 

Some thoughts from the early days of the Internet

 

 

 

http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1178.html

 

 

 

I know most of it won't work in a modern 'asset-driven' environment.

 

 

 

Just ideas.


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  Reply # 1491483 13-Feb-2016 08:37
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I have +1'd jhsol. It is what I think is the best option. Pick something, make it clear and enforce it.

 

Our test domain named core servers by elements in the periodic table and test VM's by no system at all. Keeping things straight is a nightmare and explaining to new staff is difficult. Now that the guy I inherited this system from has left and the others who were in helper roles have shifted position, I think I am probably the only person in the company who knows what a given server is which is not a smart place to be. Note to self: I need to document things more before taking parental leave in July.





Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


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  Reply # 1491490 13-Feb-2016 09:13
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The last global company I worked for was set like PDUDAP01 (Pacific Region, Dunedin, Application Server 1).

 

The smaller firm I worked for - Desktops were DQ001 (Desktop Queenstown 1). Severs being DUNEXCH1 or ZQNAD1 (Dunedin Exchange/Queenstown Active Directory). Servers were DunESX1 etc. Switches were ZQN2960a/b/c - for a cisco 2960 in Queenstown.

 


I think it really depends on how big you are, how complex you want it to be and what you want out of a system name. 


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  Reply # 1491515 13-Feb-2016 10:06
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Our desktops are named by asset tag, but the servers follow an [org]SV[type]xx pattern. For example, if we were "ABC" then the 3rd Web server might be ABCSVWEB03. In this case, "SV" means "server" (we also have WS for workstation, and probably some others like RT for routers but I don't need to know about those for my job). The types are usually three characters, such as SQL for a SQL server, APP for an application server, and the unfortunately-named FAP for a "file and print" server.


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  Reply # 1491517 13-Feb-2016 10:10
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Behodar:

 

unfortunately-named FAP for a "file and print" server.

 

 

Bahahalaughing thanks almost choked on my coffee!





Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


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  Reply # 1491518 13-Feb-2016 10:11
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toyonut: Bahahalaughing thanks almost choked on my coffee!

 

To this day I don't know whether that abbreviation was picked as a joke, or due to ignorance!




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  Reply # 1491860 13-Feb-2016 23:57
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There's always such decent input here, thanks very much.

 

I think we'll go with generic names based on asset numbers. I'm not a fan of naming computers by role as this seems to be too finite and is not usually complete information - e.g. The domain server might be called  NZHAMDC1 for example, but also hosts DNS, DHCP and if there is a disaster in Hamilton, it might be virtually relocated, causing more confusion. I'm also not a fan of using numeric series in computer names as if a contractor takes over while I'm recovering from being run over by a bus, that contractor might see something like NZHAMDC3 and assume 1+2 should be restored to solve a problem with replication.... obviously as a worst case, but I hope you get it (yes, I am a hardcore documenter, but here are times that the wiki server might be dead, too...)... 

 

Another compelling reason to use an asset number for a name is that it forces VMs to be treated as hardware assets. This will force the same process (and checks and balances) as setting up a physical server, as well as allow us to track software licensing. I think it's a start of a horrible downhill experience when administrators start to regard VMs as disposable temporary and simple as text files, and usually that nightmare starts when Microsoft shows up one day and asks to audit Windows Server licenses....

 

TL;DR I'm going to likely go with [device type] + [asset code] where device type is SR or SW or VM (physical server, switch, virtual machine) and asset code is last 6 character of serial number to allow an abstract layer between devices and hosted services since they are both transient in the modern virtualised data center.

 

Thanks for the useful feedback.


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  Reply # 1491896 14-Feb-2016 08:11
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most servers dont do a single role, but they are named after their primary role. surely all the servers of the same time ie ADC01 do the same thing? so 2 ADC01 severs in different locations are doing the same thing?

 

if their roles and functions are documented why would if matter if you named it by its main function?

 

To me calling a server by an asset tag means a lot more work as you then need to look up what it does if you are not familar with that asset tag. where as ADC01 ect you know by looking at it what jobs it might do.


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  Reply # 1491906 14-Feb-2016 09:05
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lxsw20:

 

The last global company I worked for was set like PDUDAP01 (Pacific Region, Dunedin, Application Server 1).

 

 

 

 

We've avoided using leading numeric digits in the numbering sequence because some tools won't sort the names correctly and left (for example) PDUDAP01 ended up sorted in the list next to PDUDAP99.


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  Reply # 1491908 14-Feb-2016 09:15
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Jase2985:

 

most servers dont do a single role, but they are named after their primary role. surely all the servers of the same time ie ADC01 do the same thing? so 2 ADC01 severs in different locations are doing the same thing?

 

if their roles and functions are documented why would if matter if you named it by its main function?

 

To me calling a server by an asset tag means a lot more work as you then need to look up what it does if you are not familar with that asset tag. where as ADC01 ect you know by looking at it what jobs it might do.

 

 

 

 

Agreed - Thorough system and procedural documentation, along with a change management process is the key here. Having at least some indication of the specific role can be very useful and helps to prevent mistakes.

 

We also implemented some rules with the asset management team around the naming convention they used to ensure that at no point a computer would be named (for example) COM1 or a printer named PRN1.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1491911 14-Feb-2016 09:17
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I thought that happened the other way around, as in 1 would end up next to 99 so you're better off going 001 or 01. Could be wrong, it's Excel I'm thinking of. 


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  Reply # 1491939 14-Feb-2016 10:24
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lxsw20:

 

I thought that happened the other way around, as in 1 would end up next to 99 so you're better off going 001 or 01. Could be wrong, it's Excel I'm thinking of. 

 

 

 

 

Yes you're right - the other way around! Should have had my coffee before I wrote that. And just a note that not all tools that manage computer objects have this failing, but some do.

 

The other issue with assigning a specific number of digits is that you invariably run out and require further digits. We always start number sequentially without any leading digits.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1492085 14-Feb-2016 14:31
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I always advise people to consider IT assets as cattle, not pets with their own special names. Just go with the machine serial or the ID number of that machine in your asset register. If a VM, you can use the MAC address.

It takes two seconds to track the relevant server down that holds a particular service in AD, eg if you're looking for a domain controller at a particular site and you setup Sites and Services correctly then tracking down a domain controller takes a few clicks. If you are using DFS to publish file shares then same deal finding and managing/relocating shares is easy.

Don't go with themes like place names or characters from a movie, they don't scale. When you stick to a unique identifier like a serial or asset ID then retiring and replacing machines over time is straight forward.

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