/r/Sysadmin Frequently Asked Questions – Naming Servers

Here’s another post that’s a frequently asked question on /r/sysadmin – naming of your servers in your infrastructure.

Starting Out…

Generally when someone is starting out as a system administrator, or does not have a lot of experience and/or has control over a network without accountability — many will name servers however they see fit.

A common example of poor naming scheme are: planets, characters from popular TV shows & in some cases, species of a particular plant or animal. You can see an example of that here. Here’s another example.

These naming schemes may be fine if you’re a lone system administrator where, you only have a handful of servers. However, the days of having a small infrastructure like this are long dead.

The search I used for a large amount of the results I found on Reddit is the following: site:reddit.com/r/sysadmin naming servers

More experience…

The most common example of naming schemes, at least in a smaller organization would be short letter codes indicating the company or organization name, short letter site code (airport codes usually), function of the server followed by the number of the instance.

For example, if you were running a company, Contoso, LTD & you have a site/office in New Jersey & within that site, you have a file server & a mailbox server, you might name them in such a way:


And so on & so forth.  Another common variation would be using the local airport code as the short-hand for the site, such as CONEWRFS01, CONEWRMBX01, etc. There are variations of this depending on your environment.

For example, in hosting, you may not use all of the codes & just name servers the datacenter the server is in & the number of the server, assuming that you have many, many servers. For example: LA305, NJ908, CA489. Virtual machines, conversely if you don’t care what they are, or if they are all identical cattle fodder, they can be named as such: VM48205, VM57295, and so on.

For additional examples of these naming schemes, the Google search or some variation that I used was this: dns naming convention best practice.

Another popular, related topic, which has changed recently is the proper naming of Windows Active Directory naming schemes. This is a very popular example — however, today, because of all the TLDs that exist today, there are many people that recommend a proper split DNS scenario. Many people used to use a domain name, for example, contoso.local. There used to be concerns that .local could be a purchasable domain name. Here’s an example of this on-going debate.

I may create a follow-up post on this, but that’s a collection of the links & thoughts I have on the topic at this point.