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Naming convention for computers

Background: Because of hardware failure, I was tasked with setting up a replacement server this evening. Because it was a replacement, I named it the exact same name as the original server. Because the shell prompt were identical on both machines, I ended up accidentally overwriting some configuration files in the original server with the default config files in the new server. DOH!

Luckily, we had backups and this was a test server. Otherwise I'd of been making a post in a previous serverfault question.

Question: This got me wondering what naming conventions do other sysadmins use for a server replacing one already in existence? It might seem like a silly question but I'm genuinely curious.

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marked as duplicate by Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, Evan Anderson, John Gardeniers, Jim B, sysadmin1138 Oct 22 '10 at 17:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I disagree that this is a duplicate. It's not about naming servers, it's about replacing a server and avoiding issues related to naming conflicts during the transition. +1 for a good question. –  Dennis Williamson Oct 22 '10 at 1:16
Hmm I did not think this was a duplicate at all but okay. –  Belmin Fernandez Oct 22 '10 at 18:31

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Your question seems mostly to be about *nix. Having two identically named windows boxes on the same network doesn't work well at all.

When I am setting up a replacement for a Linux box I will name it like it going to be named, but then I will temporarily change the hostname on the by running hostname instead of tweaking the files. You could also temporarily adjust your prompt or something else that would help you identify which host was which.

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Smart. Thanks! I'm going to try this tonight. –  Belmin Fernandez Oct 22 '10 at 11:18

if you needed to use the same server name for both, a possible solution would be to create an alias in /etc/hosts for both of the servers, eg            serverName
<other server ip>    otherServerName

This would avoid confusion when copying to and from old and new.

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The name collision is stricly a Windows issue. For Windows servers I user SERVER01, SERVER02, and so on. If the old server is dead, the new one will take the same name. If is a "running upgrade", I take the first available number and use it. If there are too many naming issues, I decommission the old server ASAP and put a IN A record in Active Directory with the old name pointing to the new IP. But I needed to do this just once, normally is just a matter of changing the login script of Active Directory.

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I tend to use serverName-old and/or serverName-new when they coexist, then rename appropriately. It will vary depending whether or not the old one can be renamed if it's still in service.

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