Server naming convention RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm about to start virtualizing our server environment using Hyper-v. Our previous servers were all numbered SERV1, SERV2, etc. Since we will have virtual hosts as well as virtual machines, is there a common or recommended naming convention that anyone recommends? Does it make more sense for the server names to represent their roles? (EXCHANGE2016, SQLSERVER2012, etc.)?
    Monday, December 12, 2016 7:16 PM


  • I've seen dozens of naming conventions, and all of them made sense -- to somebody. I don't think I've ever seen anyone attempt to come up with a universal standard, though. If a naming convention satisfies your needs, it's a good one.

    Personally, my rule is that they must be identifiable, comprehensible, and typeable. I don't want any meaningless characters. For example, "EXCHANGESERVER2016" as opposed to what? "EXCHANGEDESKTOP2003"? Why is the word "SERVER" there? If it's because you want servers to be visually distinguishable from desktops in your DNS lists, that is a perfectly acceptable response. If it's because you don't care about a few extra letters, that's also a perfectly acceptable response. Why is the version number there? Same deal. Whatever works for you. Just remember that if you have a computer name greater than 15 characters long, you'll eventually regret it.

    My personal convention is <type identifier><purpose identifier><numerical identifier>. For types, I have "dt" for desktop, "lt" for laptop, "sv" for server, "rt" for router, "sw" for switch, and "pt" for printer. Type identifiers are always two characters that are unpronounceable in sequence because of lessons learned the hard way. Purpose identifiers are enough to get the point across, like "exch" and "sql", but no more than necessary. Numbers start at 1 and count up. I see a lot of people using three digits (ex: "001") in sites that will never have more than a handful of servers, which makes no sense to me. But, a trick that I picked up from someone else is to alternate the numerical identifier across versions in a way that allows me to "keep" a name. For example, my first 2012 R2 Hyper-V Server is "svhv1". The Hyper-V Server 2016 system that will replace it is "svhv01". The 2012 R2 system will be gone whenever the next version of Hyper-V Server is released, so I'll go back to "svhv1". That way, I know what version it is without entering the version number. Not a maintainable system at volume because mixed versions is common, but version identification isn't one of my requirements.

    I've seen systems where every character position has a precise meaning. It works, but they need a lookup table to determine what a system is. I've seen people just use popular culture names that had no bearing on anything. Really, whatever system works for you.

    Eric Siron
    Altaro Hyper-V Blog
    I am an independent contributor, not an Altaro employee. I accept all responsibility for the content of my posts. You accept all responsibility for any actions that you take based on the content of my posts.

    • Marked as answer by Technobeam Tuesday, December 13, 2016 2:25 PM
    Monday, December 12, 2016 7:54 PM