SQL Server instance naming conventions

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good naming convention for SQL Server instances?

I have taken over a group of SQL Servers with mostly default names but more instances will be installed in the future.  I'm looking to distinguish between DEV, Test and Production instances.  

Apps are involved of course but I'm not sure if I should attempt to include, say, three letters that represent the app.  

Also not sure if I should include, say, three letters representing the company's name.  

Also not sure if I should include 'SQL' somewhere in there.

I've also seen variations where DBA's have included the letter 'V' for virtual and 'I' for instance.

I would like to hear some opinions about what is a good, simple and flexible naming convention.

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Hi Austin.   I gues from "Also not sure if I should include, say, three letters representing the company's name. "   you have identified that the key issue really is that of  "How do I name my instances so that they wont conflict with any that may be from a vendor?"

I dont think there is any point in putting "SQL" into the name as by definition it is sql.   i also dont think there is any point in using I or V etc as a prefix,   since by definition an unnamed instance is refered to as <MachineName> and a named instance as <MachineName>\<InstanceName>   thus there is already an inbuilt distinction.

I use named instances quite a bit.  especially with shipped out MSDE.    The approach we take is to have an initial 4 chars indicating the companyname  + '_' + a part distinguising the purpose of the instance + if required '_T' for test or '_D' for dev

eg: (not that i work for FORD ,but)

SERVER1\FORD_Sales_D    --Dev instance  
SERVER1\FORD_Sales_T    -- Test instance
SERVER1\FORD_Sales       -- live instance

The problem is when the name is already in use.   Im afread there is no easy answer to this other than in the pre-install to verify it. and abort or use reserve instance name.

my 2 cents

I would not include app references in the instance name, essentially you might decide to move apps in the future and are then
stuck with a naming reference which at that stage doesnt apply. Also SQL server is not restricted to only running 1 database
at a time, you can have multiple db's on a server , each associated with a different app.

THe i / v  reference might be useful.
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AustinSevenAuthor Commented:

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