I have been using AWS lightly for the past few years, such as email forwarding, file storage, machine learning.

It is unsettling to have the flexibility to name policies, users, resources literally anything I wanted. I might have users and resources with very similar names. I don't have a naming convention. When I look back at the resources I deployed previously, their names are not very helpful and I've forgotten what they are for, having to dig deeper into them to identify them, meaning the names are currently useless.

How do you handle this problem, and are there any resources to help me with naming things in AWS?


Naming standards are really up to you. What do you need to know about the resource? It will probably be different for each resource type. Some way to indicate application, owner, operating system or function, to distinguish between resources of that type.

Tagging is a superset of naming, and IMHO is more important than a naming convention. AWS has a PDF on tagging best practices, but here are tags I find most useful (from memory):

  • Name: Displayed in console if you get the case correct (capital N), human readable description
  • environment: development, testing, production, etc
  • business-owner: who in the company is responsible for this - ideally a role based email rather than an individual
  • technical-owner: the person who created or manages the resource
  • description: optionally a description
  • application-name: the name of the application the resource is associated with
  • backups: when / what kind of backups are required (machine readable)
  • schedule: when the resource needs to be turned on and off to save money (machine readable)
  • Thanks for the suggestion, I will look at using tagging. I guess most people don't care about naming because they just use identifiers and code to deploy/ destroy resources. – Ben Butterworth Jul 12 '20 at 18:57
  • Naming standards can still be important in enterprise environments, but good tagging adds even more information. Naming standards can be somewhat cryptic, whereas tags can convey a lot more information. – Tim Jul 12 '20 at 23:27

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