What are your server names like?



  • OK... gotta vent.

    I work for a big financial institution. I mainly do SQL database architecting, development, administration, etc., but only on development and UAT servers. Every day, I nearly go blind trying to read our server names.

    Some quick history first.
    At my last gig, the servers had names with this pattern:
    XXYYZZZ#
    where
    XX = PD, DV, or TS (for Production, Development, or Testing)
    YY = DB, APP, FS, AD, etc. (for Database, Application, File Server, Active Directory, etc.)
    ZZZ = some 2-4 letter code/abbreviation/acronym indicating what kinds of "stuff" might be found on the server.
    # = a number in case we need multiples of a given "type".

    For example, the SQL Server server which hosts most of the finance-related databases might be named:
    PDDBFIN1
    and the server hosting the primary medical application for UAT would be:
    TSAPPMED1

    Easy peasy. Readable. Pronouncable. Meaningful. (Note: Not necessarily pronouncable as a single word, but "P-D-D-B-FIN-ONE" was fairly straightforward.


    NOW, however, I have to deal with server names like:
    SVBMN14GLB05P
    SVAMN23GXDN2Z
    The 1st is a production database server and the 2nd is a development application server. Go ahead. Look at them again and try to glean anything out of them that indicates prod vs. dev, or app vs. database. There is SOME "reasoning" behind the names:
    SV = Server
    A = Application
    B = dataBase (I am not making this up)
    The rest is mish-mosh which I'll get to in a sec.

    Fortunately, we take separation of duties a gazillion percent seriously so I just have read-only rights on production servers (therefore I can't accidentally deploy my dev scripts to production...although I have deployed dev to UAT).

    But still.. I mean, c'mon... You can't even begin to pronounce that. The best we can do is refer to them as "the zero-five-P" or "D-N-two-Z" servers. And, no, we can't use aliases.

    The final twist of this particular knife comes with the meaning of the "mish-mosh. See, we have it drummed into our heads that "customer service" is THE focus of everyone. And if you don't deal directly with "true" customers, then your customers are the other bank employees whom you "serve". In my case, that means the various app developers who create apps and such which consume "my" databases. That's both fine AND dandy. I actually agree with that sentiment. But... when it comes to the group for whom I am a customer... fuggitaboudit. That group is responsible for acquiring, installing, configuring, and NAMING servers. Would they dare let me (their FREAKING CUSTOMER) suggest a name? Nahh... they want to go with their mish-mosh which has to do with the physical location of the server (building, server room, rack #, etc.). Granted, we have > 35000 servers, but geez louise how about letting us name them (within limits) and using, oh.. I don't know.. A COMPUTER to figure out where a server is located.

    I'm not advocating the cutesy Groucho, Chico, Harpo server-naming route. I just want something readable, pronounceable, and meaningful (to me).

    OK, I'm done whining, but I'd like to know from the WTFers: What do your server names look like? Are we the only big company that lets cats walk across keyboards when naming servers?

     



  • @SQLDave said:

    Are we the only big company that lets cats walk across keyboards when naming servers?
     

    Nope. Ours are only slightly more readable.

    I have to laugh at the genius who added the abbreviation 'FAP' to all the file and print shares. I don't know if it was deliberate or not but sometimes it coincides rather well with the bad abbreviations.

    The only places I've known to have legible server names were universities, and one organisation that used moon names which I thought was pretty cool. 



  • O_O

     

    For some reason, it never occurred to me with with the fidelity of a good idea, until now, that servers should have meaningful names, but then again our amount of [truly uniquely purposed] servers hasn't reached that critical mass yet.

    So they're basically named the equivalent of "server1", "server2" etc.

    It's "fine" for 3 servers, but I've begun keeping a list which is which. I think that's kind of stupid. I'm also not in a position of authority to change that.

     

    My home computers are called Brick, Smurf and Burp. LALS.



  • Well, look at the bright side. You could have a medium sized organization which has a deeply ingrained culture of naming servers after video game characters.

    Yes, I've dealt with this. I got called all sorts of names when I began suggesting we make the names meaningful and "at a glance" worthy. Practically got lynched when I recommended the same for the workstation names. Yet, just a short while later that's exactly how everything is setup now. I really hate the "that's how it's always been" mentality. Makes me what to break things ( specifically, "how it's always been" ).



  • For my personal projects, my servers have the names of chemical elements. I name them so that the more processing power, memory and storage capacity they have, the heavier is the element after which they are named.

    At home I keep Titanium, Aluminium, Chrome and Silicon. As I add more machines to my apartment, they'll be named after heavier stuff like Iron and Copper.

    I also have a carputer that I built. It has IIS and SQL Server, so it could double as a site server, but I don't want to drain my car's battery so I don't keep it turned on for long periods while the car's off. I call it Black Jet (as in, you know, the stone).

    Asides those, when it comes to real work, I have as much luck as the OP.



  • @hobbes said:

    Well, look at the bright side. You could have a medium sized organization which has a deeply ingrained culture of naming servers after video game characters.

    Yes, I've dealt with this. I got called all sorts of names when I began suggesting we make the names meaningful and "at a glance" worthy. Practically got lynched when I recommended the same for the workstation names. Yet, just a short while later that's exactly how everything is setup now. I really hate the "that's how it's always been" mentality. Makes me what to break things ( specifically, "how it's always been" ).

    I worked in a place where our workstations where called Booster Gold (mine), Green Lantern, Batman, Wonderwoman, Blue Beetle and Flash. They even had stickers of those Justice League characters on them. The WTF there was that our application server was called The Thing. The support tech was too much of a Marvel fanboy to let it be named after a DC character.



  • There is a security risk in naming your servers with names that identify their function. If a privileged account gets compromised, then a simple list of machines will tell the intruder where to find all the sensitive information.



  • @RaspenJho said:

    There is a security risk in naming your servers with names that identify their function. If a privileged account gets compromised, then a simple list of machines will tell the intruder where to find all the sensitive information.

    You're kidding, right? Because security by obfuscation is not real security.



  • Are you saying that having a list of server names and their roles wouldn't help an intruder find what they are looking for? Security through obscurity is not, by itself, enough; but coupled with real security strategies, it can make the difference between compromised data and a failed hack attempt.



  • @SQLDave said:

    Nahh... they want to go with their mish-mosh which has to do with the physical location of the server (building, server room, rack #, etc.).

    Do you realize that is actually considered good practice? The server name actually has meaning, and identifies where on the rack (and which rack) it's at. This is really useful when the server needs to be physically handled as the server name actually provides that information. It also means it is consistant. Personally I wouldn't have the A/B part in there at all so the name is completely independant of the function for when the function of the server changes.



    PS: Ours are themed per server type. So all DB servers follow one theme, app servers follow another, etc...



  • @Lingerance said:

    @SQLDave said:
    Nahh... they want to go with their mish-mosh which has to do with the physical location of the server (building, server room, rack #, etc.).

    Do you realize that is actually considered good practice?
    It is?  I would figure that would be problematic when they move racks or move the data center downtown.  

    Ours are like 6 digit.  first three specify what it is (app server, web server, db server), fourth is D, Q, or P, then an arbitrary number.  Then in the CMDB, it lists what building, rack, etc. it's in.  @Lingerance said:

    the name is completely independant of the function for when the function of the server changes.
    Our Dev and QA machines just moved, and I didn't have to go through and update my connection information because it's the same and it's based on function, not location.  @Lingerance said:
    PS: Ours are themed per server type. So all DB servers follow one theme, app servers follow another, etc...
    I like this much better.  I don't care what rack it's on.  I just want to get on and develop.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Lingerance said:
    @SQLDave said:
    Nahh... they want to go with their mish-mosh which has to do with the physical location of the server (building, server room, rack #, etc.).

    Do you realize that is actually considered good practice?
    It is?  I would figure that would be problematic when they move racks or move the data center downtown.
    Is that a frequent occurance?

    @belgariontheking said:

    @Lingerance said:
    the name is completely independant of the function for when the function of the server changes.
    Our Dev and QA machines just moved, and I didn't have to go through and update my connection information because it's the same and it's based on function, not location.

    What connection information? If you're connecting to a server you connect to the service's DNS address, not the host's.

    @belgariontheking said:

    I don't care what rack it's on.  I just want to get on and develop.

    You may not, but an SA will.



  • @Lingerance said:

    @belgariontheking said:
    @Lingerance said:
    @SQLDave said:
    Nahh... they want to go with their mish-mosh which has to do with the physical location of the server (building, server room, rack #, etc.).

    Do you realize that is actually considered good practice?
    It is?  I would figure that would be problematic when they move racks or move the data center downtown.  
    Is that a frequent occurance?
    Probably more frequent in my large multinational corporation than in yours.  Like I said, all our DEV and QA environment moved this year.  This is the first time that's happened in the three years I've been here, and I would be willing to bet that they get renamed due to replacement more than they get renamed due to physically moving.

    @Lingerance said:

    @belgariontheking said:
    @Lingerance said:
    the name is completely independant of the function for when the function of the server changes.
    Our Dev and QA machines just moved, and I didn't have to go through and update my connection information because it's the same and it's based on function, not location.
    What connection information? If you're connecting to a server you connect to the service's DNS address, not the host's.
    Not sure what you mean here.  In putty, I have "user@servername.company.com."  If the name were based on its location, I would have to update that.  But since it's based on its function (UNIX Server), I didn't have to change anything.

    @Lingerance said:

    @belgariontheking said:
    I don't care what rack it's on.  I just want to get on and develop.

    You may not, but an SA will.
    There are more developers than SAs, and the SAs have the CMDB to rely on.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Not sure what you mean here.  In putty, I have "user@servername.company.com."  If the name were based on its location, I would have to update that.  But since it's based on its function (UNIX Server), I didn't have to change anything.

    For that I'd just have aliases in my ssh_config file, so ssh web1 connects to the correct hostname. It's a do once per move operation, which even in your example isn't that common of an event. The hostnames are not really meant to be human readable, they are meant to provide information. I use an alias for every machine I connect to.
    @belgariontheking said:
    There are more developers than SAs, and the SAs have the CMDB to rely on.
    CMDB? Do the developers need to access the machines specifically (as opposed to the service) more frequently than the SAs do?



  • Our older servers are named after cool North-West stuff: Baker/Baker2/Aspen/Whistler/BigWhite/Rainier. Newer ones though are a bit lamer (Meta/Nexus) and so on. There's a few more randomly named ones... There's never really been a naming scheme used to identify them by function before. At home it's just "nelson-7-desktop" and "nelson-7-laptop" because I'm so incredibly imaginative. Oh! I have an XP VM I keep my development server on named "localdev-nelson"... probably the most exciting one.



  • I'd bet that once a server is racked and running, the # of times it has to be physically located pales in comparison to the # of times we (the IT users) have to refer to it in some form or another. So, yeah... name it so it can be located quickly the 1 or 2 times a year you need to and the rest of us will suffer with the cat-on-keyboard mish-mosh. Heaven knows they couldn't use some modern, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art application such as Excel in order to see that the server "PRD_DB_AcctRpt01" is in Building A, Room 12, Rack 6, shelf B. (Actually, considering the mainframe-mentality of a lot of those folks, they might NOT know how to use Excel. I mean, we use Notes for pity's sake).

    Plus, they ARE moving to a new data center, so THAT ought to be fun.

    Finally, as I said, I wouldn't mind the mish-mosh TOO terribly much except for the whole "customer service" thing upper management always carpet-bombs us with. Why do I have to bend over backwards while jumping through flaming hoops attached to rodeo bulls to make my "customers" happy, but when I am the customer nobody seems to give a rat's ass about making my job easier. <grumble grumble>.



  • Beware server names that imply location.  Virtualization causes a world of hurt with these schemes.  Beware server names that imply function too specifically.  Server consolidation will suck.  With the power of low-end servers these days, either consolidation or virtualization will happen to more servers than not in the near future.

    In my opinion, a suffix like SAPSQL05 is a bad thing, but SAP004 is sufficiently specific while being generic enough.

    For the record, we use:

    [Platform Code][Environment][State][Location][Purpose][Number]

    A typical server name might be: WPNY037FS01.  Windows, Production, New York, Location 37, File Server, number 1.  I'm not crazy about the scheme, but it works OK.



  • Where I work (at a comfortably small computer lab at a comfortably small community college), our computers have fairly sane names. Each campus in the district (Let's call one the "Rushing River College") can conveniently be referred to as an acronym of three letters--RRC, for example. Then there is the computer's location (usually LAB for the computer labs) and finally there is the lab pod and computer number, such as A04. So Computer 4 of Pod A in the computer lab of RRC college is...RRC-LAB-A04. You get the idea.

    At home I amuse myself by giving my servers and desktops odd names. I believe I have drakesmoor, dragonsvain, jeremiah, purplevixen (don't ask), and fluffball. Yes. fluffball.

    And I think my laptop is called <myfirstname>-laptop. Yeah, I know. Fail. I'll rename it sometime when I'm in the mood to clean up afterwards.

     




  • xiu-laptop

    xiu-server (my windows home server, NAS, torrent client)

    xiu-htpc (my win7 XBMC pc)



    At work everyone uses a prefix for the OS (which gets outdated when the system is upgraded) and some add p for portables, but they also use wvp for windows vista pro.

    So we have a ws03-tfs which is actually running Windows 2008.



  •  indrora-laptop (small linux "netbook" laptop)
    indrora-blackUFO (alienware/win64/Linux)
    Gutenberg (print server/FreeBSD)
    Mozart (media server/win32)

     Simple stuff that works. 



  • @Indrora said:

    I contribute to the F@H Project because I hated seeing my grandfather die from the implications of Alzhiemers
    headdesk



  • @bstorer said:

    @Indrora said:

    I contribute to the F@H Project because I hated seeing my grandfather die from the implications of Alzhiemers
    headdesk

    I blame Chrome. It said I had no spelling misteaks. 



  • at my old school, the servers were named like: utopia, valhalla, eden, paradise and so on.



  • At my previous job there was just one server (file and print server) and it was named SRV_EN_04. There was another server, in another branch office named SRV_EN_005 [sic], but no 01-03 was ever found and no records of them ever existing either. SRV_EN_04 was the first server and the name was reused on new servers which replaced the old one.



  • @dhromed said:

    My home computers are called Brick, Smurf and Burp. LALS.
    What? No "Flurp"?

    My home PC's were named after Star Trek. My proxy server was "wormhole", main PC was "DS9", secondary was "Voyager"

    But after adding new PC's I stopped doing that. My ACER mediacenter is simply called "MediaCenter", my new PC is called "Medion" (after it's brand)

    At work however we have a Zeus, Apollo, Hermes etc...



  •  My (single) server's name is toolbox. 

    I'm just curious, what are your servers' specs like? I'm running 4 750GB drives in RAID-5 on my humble D945GCLF. I have a 1-2 PCI riser with a 4 port SATA card and a gigabit ethernet card.



  • @whatthefrak said:

    My (single) server's name is toolbox. 

    I'm just curious, what are your servers' specs like? I'm running 4 750GB drives in RAID-5 on my humble D945GCLF. I have a 1-2 PCI riser with a 4 port SATA card and a gigabit ethernet card.

     

    Haven't gotten around to adding a server to my collection. I only have desktops (Acer Aspire Idea 500, Dell Dimension 8300, a Medion Intel i5, custom built AMD K6, Dell Latitude 630) I recently threw out my Pentium 90 and my wife's x286 because you know - they don't run Windows 7 as well as I would have liked :-)

    I'm currently considering installing either "Windows Home Server" or going for a Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V enabled virtual machines



  • Windows Home Server with 10TB storage (it makes one giant pool of all your hard drives and you can choose software raid mirroring per shared folder). Does nightly backups of all the computers and it's my torrent client.



  • @whatthefrak said:

     My (single) server's name is toolbox. 

    I'm just curious, what are your servers' specs like? I'm running 4 750GB drives in RAID-5 on my humble D945GCLF. I have a 1-2 PCI riser with a 4 port SATA card and a gigabit ethernet card.

    Last server I ordered was an HP BL490c with 2 quad core Xeons and 64GB of RAM.  It has six gigabit NICs and two 4Gb FibreChannel HBAs.  Storage is on the SAN, this one is allocated about 3TB.



  • @Jaime said:

    Last server I ordered was an HP BL490c with 2 quad core Xeons and 64GB of RAM.  It has six gigabit NICs and two 4Gb FibreChannel HBAs.  Storage is on the SAN, this one is allocated about 3TB.

     

    (quoted for envy) Although, I don't think I need something like this to store my Stargate. And what would I do with 6 NICs?

    Pic of my server taken out of my closet for testing. Riser, case top removed. I feel a bit like MacGuyver with my server mounted in my DIY plexiglass case, and having built a diy e-SATA HDD rack lol. This could be yours for $250 and lots of time to waste. BTW, the pic is being hosted by this.

    pic

     

     



  • @Jaime said:

    Last server I ordered was an HP BL490c with 2 quad core Xeons and 64GB of RAM.  It has six gigabit NICs and two 4Gb FibreChannel HBAs.  Storage is on the SAN, this one is allocated about 3TB.

    Funny fact: In 5 years, a cheap notebook will exceed those specifications.



  • @ammoQ said:

    @Jaime said:

    Last server I ordered was an HP BL490c with 2 quad core Xeons and 64GB of RAM.  It has six gigabit NICs and two 4Gb FibreChannel HBAs.  Storage is on the SAN, this one is allocated about 3TB.

    Funny fact: In 5 years, a cheap notebook will exceed those specifications.

    That's an exaggeration.  A cheap laptop from 2010 resembles a high-end laptop from 2005.  So, in 2015, it is likely that a cheap laptop will have 8GB of RAM and maybe a 750GB drive.



  • The know it all at my place can not even come up with a good naming covention.  Files, Files2, Files3, Mail, Mail2, Mail3, Mail4, and Mail5.  See where this is going dont you.  It amazes me the amount of stupid people you meet in this industry.



  • @DumbAndDumber said:

    The know it all at my place can not even come up with a good naming covention.  Files, Files2, Files3, Mail, Mail2, Mail3, Mail4, and Mail5.  See where this is going dont you.  It amazes me the amount of stupid people you meet in this industry.

    There are only two issues with that. 1) The name is bound to the function, which is fine so long as the function never changes, and when it does the name changes too. 2) The name states the function, which some people don't like for security reasons. But that's security by obscurity.


    So all in all those names are acceptable.



  • I dont disagree that the names are ok, but I would have liked to have seen some thought put into a naming convention or theme.  But I do agree with you.



  • I've named my servers (and other machines) by Simpsons characters at the office. LOST characters at home...

    I personally think that naming computers/servers after their function is terrible convention - what happens when you want to repurpose your server? What about replacing a server with another? I think you're better going for nice and generic names (bart, lisa, homer, maggie, burns, wiggum) and using a DNS server to bridge the gap - so connecting to SVA14GLOXBADNAME really connects to BART. That way, you could replace BART with MILHOUSE and all you need is a simple change in your DNS!



  • @mbelos said:

    what happens when you want to repurpose your server?

    hostname 'foo'

     

    Shit, that was hard.

     

    @mbelos said:

    What about replacing a server with another?

    How is this even an issue?

     

    @mbelos said:

    I think you're better going for nice and generic names (bart, lisa, homer, maggie, burns, wiggum) and using a DNS server to bridge the gap - so connecting to SVA14GLOXBADNAME really connects to BART. That way, you could replace BART with MILHOUSE and all you need is a simple change in your DNS!

    This works okay if you only have 5 servers and work for a place with no sense of professionalism.  Good luck with that.



  • @mbelos said:

    I've named my servers (and other machines) by Simpsons characters at the office. LOST characters at home... I personally think that naming computers/servers after their function is terrible convention - what happens when you want to repurpose your server? What about replacing a server with another? I think you're better going for nice and generic names (bart, lisa, homer, maggie, burns, wiggum) and using a DNS server to bridge the gap - so connecting to SVA14GLOXBADNAME really connects to BART. That way, you could replace BART with MILHOUSE and all you need is a simple change in your DNS!

    So, what happens when you install or replace 5 servers per day?  Most of the people I know work in places with over 1000 servers.  I know one place that has built a tool that assigns server names.  The tool essentially picks a unique random name that meets certain criteria, none of the criteria have anything to do with the function or location of the server being built.



  • @Jaime said:

    The tool essentially picks a unique random name that meets certain criteria, none of the criteria have anything to do with the function or location of the server being built.
     

    Yea, we know that tool.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    This works okay if you only have 5 servers and work for a place with no sense of professionalism.  Good luck with that.

    Huh? Calling servers by common names is actually a well accepted practice - only the admins need to know the 'local name' of a server. Have a read of http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1178 - it hasn't lead me astray yet...

    Not saying that Simpsons characters is a great idea, but it works well in our network. I've worked at places that used philosopher names, and other that used server function based names (think MSDC for a Microsoft Domain Controller). Was never a fan of location/function based names at all, and they're prone to typos as well!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    hostname 'foo'

    Shit, that was hard.

     

    It is for those that were brainwashed by Micro$haft. When in doubt, blame them! :)

     

    EDIT: Oh, shit. I may have invoked the apocalyptic.



  • I blame them all the time, trust me... I still have nightmares over that network - was a very scary place! The best thing for it would have been a catastrophic, network-wide server failure (or fire) so we could have started from scratch!



  • @mbelos said:

    Huh? Calling servers by common names is actually a well accepted practice - only the admins need to know the 'local name' of a server. Have a read of http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1178 - it hasn't lead me astray yet...

    Not saying that Simpsons characters is a great idea, but it works well in our network. I've worked at places that used philosopher names, and other that used server function based names (think MSDC for a Microsoft Domain Controller).

    Yeah, because everyone loves consulting a spreadsheet containing thousands of servers to find out what "bart" or "aristotle" are used for or where a particular database lives.  All because somebody thought it would be cute to forgo sensible nomenclature.

     

    @mbelos said:

    Was never a fan of location/function based names at all, and they're prone to typos as well!

    Which would never happen with "kierkegaard".  But "mail" or "web" or "db", on the other hand...



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Yeah, because everyone loves consulting a spreadsheet containing thousands of servers to find out what "bart" or "aristotle" are used for or where a particular database lives.  All because somebody thought it would be cute to forgo sensible nomenclature.

     

     

    QFT.

    Since when am I sensible though? Written from ty@thorium. (Fast, heavy, large, unstable sometimes)

    Maybe you should give the servers names that embody their personality. (when Servers < SensibleNumber)


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