Standardizing Host and Server naming Conventions in the Enterprise
Standardizing Host and Server Naming Conventions in the Enterprise
If you are looking for some ideas on how to establish and implement standard host naming
conventions, read on!
Main Points. If you read no further, remember these points!
Effective naming conventions should be both practical and scalable
Avoid theme based naming conventions
The goal should be a standard naming convention for all infrastructure devices (i.e.: hostnames)
across the enterprise
Establish a basic set of criteria to define what information your hostnames must include
Find a tool that can generate hostnames based on profiles that contain definitions of the variables
and how to combine them into hostnames
Naming your servers after Greek Gods!
Practical and Scalable? Nope.
Naming your servers after the likes of Apollo, Zeus, Ares, and Poseidon is entertaining and can work quite well in a small /
single location environment. Perhaps you have been there and done that – or at some point considered it.
But themes just don’t scale. Let’s face it, once the Olympians and Titans have been used, naming a server after a lesser deity
like Epimetheus gets old really fast – and who wants a server named after “the father of excuses” anyway?
Theme based names aren’t practical because they don’t provide information that helps to identify a device.
One size fits all. Not!
There is no “one size fits all” approach for naming conventions. But
coming up with a host naming convention can be pretty straight
The goal should be a standard naming convention for all infrastructure
devices (i.e. hostnames) across the enterprise.
Consider starting by establishing a set of basic criteria, for example,
hostnames must include:
The location of the device
The service level of the device
The role of the device
Optionally, the hostnames can include other information such as
customer, service name, and device type (e.g. physical vs. virtual)
that helps provide information about a device.
The criteria listed above are just one possible set of criteria.
Naming conventions similar to the example above have become a popular approach
because it is both practical and scalable. It is likely that some variation of this example will
work well in most organizations…
Find a Tool and Use It
Tools that can generate hostnames based on profiles that contain
definitions of the variables and how to combine them into hostnames,
can have the following advantages:
Ensure that all new hostnames are standardized and conform to
Eliminate errors by generating hostname to be used
Control access so users can generate new hostnames, but cannot
change profile definitions
This is not a sales pitch (well sort of)
Images taken from Device42’s datacenter
infrastructure management solution
Top left: The Device Name Profile tool
supports custom (user-defined) host naming
Top right: Auto generated hostnames
Right: Defining a name profile
Let’s review the main points…
Practical & Scalable
Theme Based Naming
Establish hostname Criteria, e.g.:
Service level of the device
Buy or Build…use a tool!
Location of the device
Role of the device