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Ask HN: What will be a good naming strategy for a Server
4 points by rlamptey 840 days ago | 11 comments
We've been having a funny discussion in the office about Christening our 3 new dedicated servers. Any pointers on how you named yours?



You have two choices, meaningful names (e.g. "web server," "primary database") or meaningless names (e.g. "server1," "server2," "James," "Bob," "Sarah," etc).

A lot of people recommend AGAINST meaningful names since attackers can use them to better target their attacks (although arguably it is normally trivial to figure out what is what anyway).

If you're going to have meaningless names then I just leave the default (e.g. rack123.server456) since no matter if you use planets, characters, or toys you'll still ultimately end up using its function to describe it or its IP address anyway.

Realistically your servers and their purpose should be tracked internally via some kind of system (be it Google Apps Spreadsheet, intranet page, resource tracking system, or similar). Which makes the actual host name meaningless.

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Planet names (Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn , etc etc) or Chemical elements name (Sulfur, Sodium, etc etc)

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On a previous job I used to great effect the list of bodies of the Solar system (planets, moons, asteroids, etc.)

That led to memorable names such as Mars, Venus, Pluto and Ganymede that didn't conflict much with other namespaces.

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<data center location><no><environment><purpose><no>

e.g. lon1prodapp001, lon1testdbs001, nyc1testweb001

And here's a regex that describes it: http://rubular.com/r/rdEZU9qJ6L

I hate meaningless server names. It's cute for the first 3 but once you're over 10 you won't remember the difference between the 'obsidian' and 'sovite' servers. Which one is production and which one is dev test again?

At least with a logical naming scheme, you'll have a reasonable idea whether you're even on the right server or not.

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It depends on how many servers you have, and how many sites.

If you have lots of servers you can only use machine generated names with some kind of role indicator. For fewer servers you can pick something nicer.

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For systems consisting of "many" (5+) servers all providing more or less the same functionality, I usually just go with numbering them (s1 .. sN).

For fewer and more specialised machines I'll think of something I like, my private machines are named after the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos (azathoth, cthulhu, shub, hastur, lloygor, nyarlathotep), while some of our Office servers get their names based on dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

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I name all my computers after Tolkien characters, I have a friend who names all of his after breakfast foods, my alma mater named their servers after Norse gods, all the computers where my wife worked were named after sci-fi starships. If you can't find a theme you all like, naming them something boring like `file` `print` `db`, etc. would probably work too.

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If you're looking for something a little less nerdy than some of those suggestions, why not names of streets or neighbourhoods in your city? The main key is that you want a theme with some headroom (you don't want to run out of names at five or six), and you want names that are fairly short and aren't easily misspelled.

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Datacenter location followed by rack id and then the server id. Makes it quick and easy to find out just where the server is.

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Named them after Asimov characters. QT1 is the webserver, Speedy is the memcache server, and TheBrain is the db server

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Planets of the starwars universe, or knights of the round table.

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