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I worked for a company that named the pc's after roman gods (zeus, mars...). That was quiet funny while there where only 5 pc's on the network, but after changing the pc's several times I didn't remember my pc name. What naming convention do you use or what was the most useless naming convention you ever used?

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@Zfire: No, Zeus is Greek. Jupiter is the equivalent in Roman. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_(mythology) –  Commander Keen Jun 3 '09 at 4:39
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I believe Zifre meant "isn't", since he then refers to Jupiter. –  mmyers Jun 3 '09 at 15:58
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see the question here which got some pretty nice answers. serverfault.com/questions/18240/… –  kentchen Jun 9 '09 at 7:08
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49 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is actually an RFC (1178) regarding best practice in naming computers.

The following is discouraged by this RFC:

  • Don't overload other terms already in common use.
  • Don't choose a name after a project unique to that machine.
  • Don't use your own name.
  • Don't use long names.
  • Avoid alternate spellings.
  • Avoid domain names
  • Don't use antagonistic or otherwise embarrassing names
  • Don't use digits at the beginning of the name.
  • Don't use non-alphanumeric characters in a name
  • Don't expect case to be preserved

Guidence for naming given by this RFC is:

  • Use words/names that are rarely used
  • Use theme names
  • Use real words

And as always "There is always room for an exception"

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We use the asset tags as computer names, which makes the audits (using TrackIt!) a little easier to explain to nonIT staff.

One little caveat- on Windows XP machines, we make sure and put a meaningful entry like "Joe Schmo BLDG Room 111" in the "Computer Description" field under the Computer Name tab in System Properties. When our antivirus console starts complaining that ASSET155 has a virus, the computer description will (if we remembered to) tell us where the PC is.

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I've seen Disney characters in one organization and porn stars in another.

Seems that few wanted to fess up to recognizing both sets.

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Workstations? alpha code for operating system followed by asset tag

So OSX4901 is the apple laptop on my desk with the asset tag number "4901" in our database XP4973 and WS4973 refer to one desktop machine (also on my desk as it happens), running a different operating system (XP and Windows 7).

Having this appear as the machine name in any event logs, as well as being physically tagged on the machine makes it easy for the helpdesk to know what asset someone is talking about when booking a call and for us to track things down in the systems admin/engineering department when we're reviewing a long and sorry traffic log of some random workstation banging out nonsense on its local subnet.

Asset tag is linked to physical location and/or "owner" in the helpdesk DB too. The moment we get a machine name we then can easily get a "full service history" of the computer from both a network/software point of view and a hardware / repair history point of view. Anything that makes it easier to put that information into the hands of anyone on the IT team who needs it has to be a good thing right?

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We use exercise terminology. Keeps hackers (most of whom are allergic to exercise) from poking around.

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The servers for the local church I named:

  • Lucifer
  • Alfheim
  • Valkyrie
  • Hel

My personal computers are:

  • Loki
  • Walfdar
  • Freya
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I mostly use names from a set of names.

Examples:

  • Characters from animated series (Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy)
  • Names of real stars (Sol, Arktur, Maia, Bellatrix, Deneb, ...)
  • Names of (semi-)fictious Star Trek planets (Chronos, Vulcan, Risa, Bajor, ...)

Sometimes when I can't think of a good set I use Google Sets.

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My wife and I are birdwatchers, so I name our computers after birds. I usually dig through my pictures directory, and pick one I can use as my screen background. For example, I recently took a great picture of a bald eagle, so my new Mac is "EAGLE".

Oh, and our router is named "AVIARY" of course.

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I've used everything from Greek & Roman Mythology, Planets, Superheroes, and recently the Battlestar Galactica Phonetic Alphabet. I figure I'm mostly the one who is going to be looking at these, so I might as well have a little fun with it. Also, I don't like to name the hardware based on a specific employee because we move hardware around sometimes and/or employee turnover.

Some examples: Athena, Hercules, Jove, Jupiter, Mystique, Neptune, Poseidon, Punisher, Rogue, Sedna, Zulu

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At work, we have 3 parts convention...

  • location or building (adm, asi)
  • area abbreviation (urg, sis, con, gin)
  • Sequence for the area

So the names are like this

  • adm-sis-001
  • adm-con-006
  • asi-gin-007

We are currently trying to get the type of machine into the name (like, virtual PC, virtual Host, DHCP server, etc)

At home, I was used to use mythological greek names also (Zeus, Pegaso, Poseidon) But now i'm trying to use names from movie characters starting with some letter

  • S= Server, (Seth, Saturn, ...)
  • P= Portable PC[Laptop] (Perseo, Poseidon, Pegaso, ...)
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Servers: Drug names (cocaine, lsd, thc etc.) - just for fun
Terminals: Wild animals
Admin terminals: As every admin pleases.

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In our decentralized environment full of many servers, we use the following rule for servers: DDCCLo1Lo2Apxx

where

  • DD is the domain (we use 2 or 3 digits domain names, like B1)
  • CC: 2 characters ISO Country code (BE for Belgium, US for USA ...)
  • Lo1: 3 letters for city location (par for Paris)
  • Lo2: 3 letters for a street or area names (when we have several sites in the same city)
  • Ap: 2 letters describing the main purpose of the server (SP for SharePoint, FS for FileSystem, DC for Domain Controller)
  • xx: 2 digits from 01 to 99, incrementing.

That system allows us to know where the servers are located from their name.

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One word game names, e.g. unreal, doom, arkanoid, etc.

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On a Mac lan, I have seen names from the Matrix trilogy funny

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we use the name of the room + cpu identifier + number that identifies the cpu (p if is pentium-intel; k if is k7-amd)

so

for example

accounting-p1 accounting-p3 accounting-p4

in this case i skipped p2 because accounting-p1 is a pentium 133mhz; while accounting-p3 is a pentium3 733mhz; accounting-p4 is a pentium4 3.06 ghz naming computers is funny

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We used to name computers after lochs, but I ran out of names of lochs. I then started naming them after the service tags (we use exclusively Dell machines) but that got silly quickly.

We now name them with the company initials and abrief description of the machine, such as

  • csphyshost01 as a virtualserver host
  • csvm01 as a virtual server instnace
  • csdev01 as a development machine
  • csman01 as a management machine
  • cssales01 as a sales machine

The only thing is that it's not very friendly!

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I usually call them George. Get's rough after a while, but keeps the mind focused.

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Anime ships/mecha (yamato, swordfishII, eva, RX-75 Guntank, etc..)

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Our servers are named by physical location first (we have thousands of servers and loads of datacentres) then an underscore and their function, as that often changes.

For instance 44lntmc09a07_wlo11 (uk,london,datacentre,rack,blade enclose,slot_weblogic on OEL server 11).

This way we always know where our servers are but have a 'temporary' short name for it's function.

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In a very small shop years ago (free standing servers)

The domain controller is always right. So it was called "Right"

It's sister (web and SQL) was therefore "Left"

The later 3rd server (running custom emulator software) was under a different desk and was called "Middle"

Sad, pointless, amusing.

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I'd call 'm HAL or DeepThought

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For PCs, we use our company name, followed by the number from the asset tag. Simple, predictable, and makes it much easier for any remote user to tell you which machine they're on.

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I mostly use names from a set of names.

Examples:

  • Characters from animated series (Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy)
  • Names of real stars (Sol, Arktur, Maia, Bellatrix, Deneb, ...)
  • Names of (semi-)fictious Star Trek planets (Chronos, Vulcan, Risa, Bajor, ...)

Sometimes when I can't think of a good set I use Google Sets.

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Manufacturer - Serial Number. Uniquely connectable to hardware and never needs to be changed.

LENOVO-1234ABC for example. Hardware servers follow the same path - FS-12345ABCDE or IBM-1234ABC. Virtual ones are different. VM - Purpose - Number in farm. VM-MSSQL-6 or VM-ADDC-3.

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At work, systems are named after the user who uses it, prefixed with "D-" for desktop systems and "L-" for laptops. Testsystems are prefixed with "T-" plus the name of the project that they mostly used for. The servers have more boring names, though.

At home, I give my computers a woman's name. I started with the letter A for my first computer and am now up to Petra with my latest netbook. I have a small problem when I want to buy a new computer, since I don't like most names that start with a Q. :-)

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Fixed Workstations

I have always named workstations based upon their location, we have five buildings each with their own code (C - Cashman, N - Newman, M - St. Marys, L - Lutwyche and SC - Sacre Coeur) each building has multiple floors (B - Basement, G - Ground, F - First, S - Second, A - Attic) and each room has a number. So rooms are named NF7, MG6, CS1. Our naming scheme simply adds a dash ("-") followed by a sequential number for that room - NF7-01, MG6-01, etc. Some computers are connected to SMARTboards so these get called -SMART instead of the sequential number as they have special policies applied.

The advantage of this system means we can identify the probable name of a computer with very little information (i.e. it was reported by Mrs Jones at 12:45 - at this point Mrs Jones was timetabled in CS1, so it is probably CS1-SMART. A student had a problem in NF7 at 10:17 which means they will be using one of the computers in NF7-01 through NF7-17). It is easy for new staff to follow the naming scheme as they can just look at the site maps.

Laptops

We have had a couple of systems for laptops, although the one that has worked best is naming them by generation, so the first batch of Acer laptops that were bought were LTA1, the second batch of Acers were LTA2 and the first batch of Fijitsu-Siemens were LTF1. Again an sequential number is appended to the name to give us LTA1-01, LTA1-02, LTF1-01, etc.

We can easily identify which laptops are of which generation simply from their DNS name, because we use BGInfo to display the computer name on the background we can ask anyone with a laptop named LTA1 to return it to be replaced (I have toyed with doing this programaticly to display a message on the login screens).

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Ours uses a variation of the Reverse Polish Notation coupled with a number. For example, ws000020 is the twentieth windows server, wv stands for a windows virtual machine, wl is a windows laptop and so on. Unfortunately, it's quite hard to remember what wv009472 was for unless you work with it daily.

On customer networks, the servers are prefixed by role. For example, there's www1 and www2 as well as sql1 and sql2. The servers for a specific application are kept on a separate domain (for example, intra.initech.example), so the fully qualified domain name tells exactly what the server is for. Of course, all of this is abstracted away from end-users with load balancers, so that they only see intra.initech.example.

At home, I use theme naming. For example, I have zathras, lyta, garibaldi, lennier and natoth. :-)

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Simpson's names,

  • Macro : ldap
  • Pinchy : IDS
  • Zutroy : dev server
  • Wiggum : firewall
  • Grabowski : firewall2
  • Apu : DHCP

and so on :)

You can find the cast list here

But for "clusters" we use names like:

  • web01, web02, web03
  • mx1, mx2, mx3
  • compute-0-0, compute-1-1, compute-2-30 (the first number is the rack)
    • Shortened c-0-0, c-1-1, c-2-30
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We're boring by comparison: primary location, secondary location and asset tag number.

Still at least we don't have to ask users to try find their PC name if we ever need to remotely control them.

At home I use hillbilly names (it amuses me): Billy-Bob, John-Boy, Jethro, and so on.

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I came up with the following system when we had a mix of manufacturers of our PCs:

e.g. Dell-0906-01

  • Dell is the manufacturer
  • 0906 is 2009-06 which is the month the PC was bought or set up
  • 01 is a serial number for all PCs set up that month. So we might have Dell-0906-01 and then HP-0906-02, then IBM-0906-03

Compaq was the longest manufacturer's name, so this fit within the 15 character netbios limit. This convention wouldn't work if you had more than 99 PCs in a given month, but that wasn't a concern for us.

For us, manufacturer and date would tell us a lot about the hardware, and in general the date would tell us quickly how old a system was.

We never liked naming PCs based on who used because of the need to rename them. This convention avoided that hassle. In practice, we grouped our PC purchases and did things like "all the secretaries are getting PCs in this batch" or "all the managers are getting new laptops" so it was also easy to associate a name with a "type" of PC user.

Later, we dropped the manufacturer and used an abbreviation for which division and what location the PC was in, but that required too much abbreviation to be as meaningful, we had things like: wpvaws-0906-01, frvaws- ppvaws- wpqcws- wpotws- (ws for WorkStation) It still worked, but wasn't as readable.

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