Computer naming schemes

I often get asked what I recommend for server/client naming schemes. Although there is no definitive answer; this always depends on your organization and what your specific requirement are, here are some pointers:

Things you would often want to include in the name of a machine:

  • Your organization name or an abbreviation of it: <org>
  • The machine type; laptop, desktop, workstation, server etc.: <type>
  • The computers MAC address: <MAC>
  • Asset tag: <asset tag>
  • Make/Model: <model>
  • The name of the user who owns/uses the machine: <username>
  • The department it belongs to: <dep>
  • A running number: <n>
  • The OS the machine is running: <OS>

You can combine these any way you want; using hyphens or other separators, or not. Here are a few I often use:

  • <org>-01234 (eg. BigFirm-56798)
  • <org>-<type>-01234 (eg. BigFirm-l-87980)
    V=Virtual
    W=Workstation
    L=Laptop
    K=Kiosk
    etc.
  • <org>-<asset tag> (eg. BigFirm-A5B98)
  • <org>-<MAC address> (eg. BigFirm-AABBCCDDEEFF)
  • <org>-<model>-01234 (eg. BigFirm-HP8100-89476)
  • <org>-<username>(-<type>) (eg. BigFirm-BobH-V)

If you have any suggestions of either complete schemes or things you like to include in your machine names, please leave a comment and I will update the article.

Also, remember that Windows computers use both DNS hostnames and NetBIOS names. NetBIOS names are limited to 15 characters, but DNS hostnames are not. Windows will not stop you from using names that are longer than 15 characters, but the NetBIOS name of the machine will be limited to the first 15 characters of the name you choose. If the part of your name that makes it unique is beyond the 15th character you will have more than one machine on your network with the same NetBIOS name. Furthermore, although Windows itself will work with a name longer than 15 characters, many tools will not. An example of this is MDT 2010.

Happy naming!

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