Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We are just shifting across to a new rack and until now have used names of cartoon characters. This is not going to work anymore, and need a better naming convention.

Physically i would like to name the servers by location, and then have an alias as to its actual function/customer, i.e.

Physical name

LONS1R1SVR1 meaning London, suite 1, rack 1, server 1

Customer Alias

Since the servers can be reassigned from time to time, for the above physical server name, i would have an alias as a column in a spreadsheet, that would be set to the customers host-name, i.e.


For patching, I am looking at labeling up the physically connections, i.e.


Ultimately if i am labeling cables, I really want to avoid putting LON1S1R1SQLSVR on any patch cord in case the server gets formatted and changed from a SQL server to a WWW server which would need to relabel all the patch cords also.

In addition, throwing in virtual machines, i have got confused very quickly.

I appreciated that it may be confusing having a physical host-name and customer alias.

Please let me know what you run with and any other standards or best practices that i can follow?

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by EEAA, joeqwerty, Falcon Momot, Jenny D, Rex Nov 4 '13 at 14:38

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Thanks @EEAA, i did read what was available, but specifically I have to handle possibility of reconciliation of servers within a year (so need to be careful on physical granularity) but most importantly, the temporary assignment of servers to customers (who will name it a hostname) but we physically still need to cable and maintain the hardware by our own internal name – g18c Nov 4 '13 at 7:03
I would go with having the A record of the host be whatever makes it easy for you to do your job, and have any names pertaining to customer/function as aliases/CNAMES. – Jenny D Nov 4 '13 at 11:08
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here's my suggestion:

Physical location and naming convention can be somewhat detached from each other.

All servers will have serial numbers, which you can change via BIOS (you don't have to, chances are they're still going to be unique). As you're stating, you could use one of your LON1S1R1SVR1 ideas as the serial number if you wanted.

  • Associate your physical servers serial number to the location. You can be as granular as you want, either just to the rack or down the U number.
  • You can physically label all of your equipment based on serial number, that way if your hostname or use-case for that server changes - everything is still accurate. It's much easier to communicate to on-site technicians.
  • Again, depending if you're in a co-location facility or not, as it's a shared facility any prying eyes won't be able to discern what the servers are used for. It's unlikely that anyone would be malicious, but extra security usually isn't bad.

Manage your hostname to "serial" number relationship internally.

  • If you're running multiple virtual machines on a single physical host, you can do a name like SERIAL.v01, SERIAL.v02, etc. Each VM can still maintain it's own unique hostname.
  • Depending on how large or small your environment is, you'll want to choose (or at least plan) a form of database to accommodate growth, Excel can only take you so far.

Anyway, those are just some ideas I've seen used and be very successful. Hope this is helpful.

share|improve this answer
This was really useful, I used a {grid}-{service-tag} scheme for servers, and a cname/spreadsheet to handle mapping of functional names. For routers and switches I used physical locations {grid}-{suite}{rack}-{device} as network equipment routes between physical locations – g18c Nov 5 '13 at 3:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.