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Best Naming Convetion for Servers & PCs

Posted on 2014-07-18
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Last Modified: 2014-07-22
I wanted to know what the best naming convention is to use when naming servers and PCS.

I have about 38 servers and 250 desktops...all Windows based.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Peter Wilson
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Korbus earned 400 total points
ID: 40204470
"BEST" in this case is I'm afraid, a matter of opinion.
Personally, I try to name the server by function, and end with "Srv".  If using backup and fail-over servers for similar functions I append a number to the name.  Another option, if you have a large server room, is to name it using some kind of "Coordinate system" in your server room, so the name will identify the server, AND it's physical location on the racks.
PC's I name with the department it used in and a number (because different depts use different software.)  Another way to organize PC names is by the make & model of the PC, which works if you get them in batches of a dozen or so.

I saw one network where each server used a different animal name.  I thought that was really cool, but not sure if it helped with administration at all.
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by:Peter Wilson
ID: 40204485
Thanks!

So give me an example on the server and PC side. So you would do Exchange-Srv for Exchange server? And for PCs you'd do HR-113 for Human Resources dept?

What do you think about putting the user's name in them? Does it cause a big issue to rename when users get fired/hired?
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by:Gabriel Clifton
Gabriel Clifton earned 400 total points
ID: 40204543
I like to name our computers according to where they are located with computer type and as for servers according the their role. To me that is better than using someones name because that office will be there longer than the employee. Yes, it is easier to use persons name and when they call for support and say their name is Peter and you look for the computer named Peter. It is just as easy to ask them where they are. You can even create a handy map for your desk as to where computers are and the computer name.
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by:Korbus
ID: 40204551
Yes, you example are what I would use.  Since I like to do command line stuff, I might shorten it to EXCH, rather than Exchange (since I have no other server functions that could be called by "EXCH").  I also avoid any special characters, like dashes, though that should not matter, and is just personal preference:  ExchSrv1, ExchSrv2, HR113

I like to keep my computers more "modular", meaning I can switch them around between users, without them noticing, or having to any work other than physical stuff.  That's why I don't put user names on the computer names.  That being said, when "Jane" calls up looking for help, it would be pretty clear which computer to remote log onto- the one called "Jane".  If you don't mind renaming the PC when it's user changes, that method should work fine.  This DOES assume users wont go switching computer around by themselves (which from experience is NOT a safe assumption, lol)  
You can also put a sticker on Jane's computer that says "HR113".
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 400 total points
ID: 40204559
Depends on your company policies - At one client, they backup and reload machines when an employee leaves.  They name workstations by business unit and user name.

I agree that best is relative - relative to what information will help you identify the machine.  Will including the office site be useful?  If you have only one site, no.  If employees share machines, then naming by user name as well won't make much sense.

Think about what information YOU would find useful based on your organization.  Maybe make a list and try to determine how you would go about turning that list of useful info into individualized computer names (of15 characters or less).
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by:Montoya
Montoya earned 400 total points
ID: 40204569
It really is a matter of opinion and how many servers you are managing.

Here's what I typically do in big environments:

City+function+Use  

For example:  MIAEXCPRD1, --- Miami Exchange Prod Server 1
                        MIAEXCPRD2
                        ORLSPPRD - ORL SharePoint Production
                         ORLSPDEV


PCs.. using a username is not a great idea because people change jobs, seats, get fired, or switch machines. We usually don't have time to go fiddling with pc names etc... We just use some naming convention like we did above, so that we can tell location, department, and number.. some people add floor number etc.., but I don't like to get that granular.
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Expert Comment

by:Gabriel Clifton
ID: 40204574
Remember, the actual best naming convention will be one that makes sense in your environment. It has to allow you and anyone else in that environment to take a computer name and instantly know where it should be and vice versa.
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by:Peter Wilson
ID: 40206830
Is there a reason I shouldn't use special characters like "-" ect.?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40207580
The hyphen is the only special character you should use - you need to use names and characters that are compatible with DNS and NetBIOS.  (What other characters would you want to use? and why?)
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by:Blue Street Tech
Blue Street Tech earned 400 total points
ID: 40207722
Just my two cents...I like to use a schema, D for desktop, S for Server, etc.

e.g. Type-Location-Department therefore D01-City-HR.
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by:Peter Wilson
ID: 40207730
Gotcha. Possible either "-" or "." for delimiting values.
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by:Korbus
ID: 40207933
I like to do a lot of scripting; Sometimes, knowing I have only letters and numbers in the computer-names can make things a bit easier.   I don't know that I have a better reason for not using other characters.
Looks like a lot of the schemes the other experts mentioned could also help when scripting.

Dashes or not, seems like the big point here is: consistency.
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by:Peter Wilson
ID: 40210952
Thanks everyone for your input!
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