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What are the advanatages/disadvantages of using custom hostnames vs. just using servernames for hosting services in IIS?

ie. With a Windows Server called 'SRV123' should we be hosting services under http://services/ServiceName instead of http://SRV123/ServiceName?

For example to get started:

Advantage: http://services is 'nicer' url than http://SRV123

Disadvantage: Creating a hostname has a bit of overhead in terms of creating the DNS entries (which in some work environments is not as easy as others).

NB: I am specifically asking in terms of Services that will only be used internally (thus url is not & never will be public).

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I'd definitely seperate the names that are accessed from your customer and the actual server names.


In case you need to migrate the service to a new server you will have to tell anyone that the share on SRV123 is now located on SRV456 if you don't use CNAMES for services. This will by far outweigh the overhead of creating a CNAME DNS entry.

If you use CNAMES dedicated to your service all over the place you will simply be able to migrate the service update the DNS record and there's a good chance that your users won't even notice something has changed.

The same is true for IP addresses, in our network all services that are exposed to customers (internal as well as external ones) we have virtual ips (VIPs) for the services so if we really need to migrate on the IP there won't be too much users see in terms of DNS timouts or similiar issues

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I would always used DNS host names, specifiying the purpose of the service, even if you use them only internally. Think of having to replace that server because of hardware or scaling problems. If you would use the server name, then in case of a server migration you'll have to communicate/change all the client configuirations.

If you're running more services on the same server under a single IP address with the same port, you'll have to choose different host headers, if you don't want to install all web applications under a single web instance (default web). Keeping them separate will give you more freedom later, when you want to change the configuration - perhaps becuase you'll have to make one of the service public etc.

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