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Suitable Naming Conventions For Workstations?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the tune's-my-own-invention dept.

Networking 688

spectre_240sx writes "We've discussed server naming a fair amount in the past, but I haven't seen much about workstations. Where I currently work, we embed a lot of information in our workstation names: site, warranty end date, machine type, etc. I'm of the opinion that this is too much information to overload in the machine name when it can more suitably be stored in the computer description. I'd love to hear how others are naming their workstations and some pros and cons for different naming schemes. Should computers be logically tied to the person that they're currently assigned to, or does that just cause unnecessary work when a machine changes hands? Do the management tools in use make a difference in how workstations are named?"

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Worst ask slashdot ever (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100135)

And that's saying something.

Honestly, can you even think of a stupider question? How is this even an issue? Just name each machine with an ID and put the information in a spreadsheet somewhere. It's not a complicated problem.

Re:Worst ask slashdot ever (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100155)

Agreed. spectre_240sx, your question was bad and you should FEEL bad.

Our old sys admin (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100205)

He insisted that all names came from Alice in Wonderland. Very annoying. And not practical.

Re:Our old sys admin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100237)

I name computers after girls I've fucked. For most slashdot readers, that would be girls that you've fantasized about while masturbating.

Re:Our old sys admin (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100271)

I name computers after girls I've fucked.

Right hand and left hand?

same set... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100285)

but... that's the same set...

ok, i didn't actually fuck any of the celebrities. but i don't fantasize about them that often either, so they don't really count for this purpose.

Re:Our old sys admin (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100299)

Doesn't it get confusing with all those machines named after your mom?

Re:Our old sys admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100547)

How can you run a network of 0 computers?

Re:Our old sys admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100597)

Your mommy and granny? No, did them.

Let me guess... (1)

refactored (260886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100421)

...your machine was called "Duchess".

Re:Worst ask slashdot ever (4, Insightful)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100263)

Simply name it after the the DATA DROP ID. You can locate the machine
and when you change PC's, just change THAT machine name to correspond
with the drop location.

Yeah, put it in a 'spreadsheet'. Most 'spreadsheets' are merely
searchable lists... go figure, I guess people forget what a
spreadsheet IS.

Suitable Naming Conventions for Niggers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100313)

I have a similar issue. I don't know what to call the antique farm equipment err uhm the knee grows around here.

My candidates are:
  • Leroy
  • Tyrone
  • Sambo

Dear Slashdot, please help me decide. Any extra suggestions would help me out too. I'm so confused by having to make arbitrary decisions!

Re:Suitable Naming Conventions for Niggers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100361)

you forgot rufus, tupac and hey nigger.

Re:Worst ask slashdot ever (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100353)

Problem with that is that you will continually either have out of date PC names that are named according to where they AREN'T - or you need to continually rename PCs, thus completely ass-raping any configuration database you have (issue tracking, asset tracking, software licensing, virus scanner history, etc).

Renaming PCs = BAD. You get away with it up to a certain size, but once you start implementing apps like a job tracking system, software licensing tracking, etc it just bites you in the arse... HARD.

Name all the boring low powered beige boxes.... (4, Funny)

refactored (260886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100363)

...after all the boring low power beige posters who think your question sucks.

You can use my name for the zooty new multi-core with the blue leds.

Re:Worst ask slashdot ever (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100451)

Put it in a spreadsheet? Seriously? People still do that? There are plenty of good inventory/audit software solutions out there that are open source. I never want to touch a spreadsheet to keep track workstations again.

Naming conventions on workstations can be quite helpful though, so I don't think it's a non-issue. I've got in the habit of prefixing the name with a 'D' or 'L' based on if the computer is a laptop or desktop. It makes it really obvious what type of computer I'm dealing with.

Also, there's a great utility called wsname ( to help automate computer naming during/after the imaging process to streamline the naming convention.

Re:Worst ask slashdot ever (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100653)

It might not seem complicated, but there are a number of traps for new players. Most of these traps involve trying to store location/user/OS information in the hostname - which seems like a good idea at the time, but just gives you false information down the track when people quit, machines move, or the OS gets upgraded.

If you rename the PCs you're forever trying to keep up - or dealing with false information, which is worse than no information...

don't name by person just makes it harder to do sw (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100137)

don't name by person just makes it harder to do swaps, moves, and other stuff. Also times you need a open system that many people uses. warranty end date, machine type + where it (general area) is seems good.

Re:don't name by person just makes it harder to do (1)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100163)

Don't forget that high turnover could make administrating the PC's a mess.

Re:don't name by person just makes it harder to do (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100225)

Our desktop guys reimage workstations rather than relying on the last user to not fuck things up. Hostname contains department, user's name, and OS.

Re:don't name by person just makes it harder to do (3, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100667)

In the tightest companies I have worked for, they name workstations and servers with meaningless random generated alphanumeric sequences.

I guess they consider it more secure, making it harder to figure out the network topology. Also, since the names are meaningless, there is never a need to rename the machine really, unless they would want to confuse even more want to be hackers.

Let Mr. Black hat do it for you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100143)

zombie-pron-server-5 ... ... ...

Re:Let Mr. Black hat do it for you (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100663)

That's close to our system. We use adult toy names. It's pretty good, but you have to be careful not to use something obvious like "vibrator".

Arab, Bead, Tickler, Butterfly, MagicWand, Swing, Clamp, JackRabbit, etc... no one's caught on yet.

Like an ID for a database record (1)

bokmann (323771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100145)

Like an ID for a database record, the name should be unique, mean nothing out of context, and used only to look up a description of all the information you are trying to encode in it. What happens if the warranty info changes? What happens if you assign the wrong machine, move where it is located, or change some other fungible property (either through upgrades, or simply because you encoded the wrong info?). You don't want to have to go through machine renaming exercises, updating dns entries, etc. or have to live with the degredation of your naming convention.

Re:Like an ID for a database record (5, Informative)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100185)

Asset tags systems work well for this. It's what we use. Easy for RA requests too..just ask the user to read their asset tag number (if you don't have it memorized because it's the 5,689th time this dumbfuck has called you asking how to move a file from one folder to another.) and you can punch it in and connect.

Re:Like an ID for a database record (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100391)

Exactly. We have an 'asset tag' - a number written on the case with a sharpie. (Works perfectly fine for us!) The computer's name is just "PC" followed by the (zero padded to three digits) computer number. Thus, I'm on PC079.

(With us, when a person changes department or office, their computer follows them. Thus there's no sane reason for us to encode the office or department name into the computer's name.)

Re:Like an ID for a database record (1)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100441)

Before my employer was bought by a larger company, asset tags were both the tracking tag and computer name. Two letter country and 6 digit number - pretty darn simple and I HOPE we would never exceed 1million computers (workstations/laptops only) in the country.

When we were bought, the new owning company went with separate asset tags and then a much longer computer name consisting of: country, site, workstation type, serial and other numbers. Pretty darn annoying to read AMRNYCWL3A57989 when US013456 is MUCH easier. Not to mention you now have the computer name in windows only, the asset tag on the machine (diff number) and usually the service tag on the back. \

Re:Like an ID for a database record (2, Insightful)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100511)

Use asset tags. They are unique (at least should be) all other data are stored in database else where, sub-records keeping rest of the information like software loaded, key#, ...

*IF* BIG IF,you have more than 1 company under the same roof, add a simple company id, but really not needed, that is really a column in database.

Watch out for asset tags greater than 8 or 10 characters, depending. Can be problem with secondary machines and naming issues, like workstation ids IBM equipment (10 char unique / 8 char local machine plus 2 auto-assigned characters to insure uniqueness). This way tracking a machine "foot print" on a foreign location machine will be easier, instead of random assigned ids.

how about (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100147)

How about
MicrosoftSpamBot01 thru MicroSoftSpamBotxx?

Re:how about (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100513)

Only 2 digits? That's a small botnet.

Star Trek (4, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100149)

Name them after Star Trek ships, races, planets and character names. You are obviously not a true CIS geek.

Re:Star Trek (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100269)

It's all fun and games until someone gets ahold of some Tolkien.

Re:Star Trek (5, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100501)

As long as you don't try calling it a "Tolkien Ring" network...

just please not CSI geeks. no rly. (2, Funny)

scotsghost (1125495) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100333)

imagine the horror of walking into a lab where all the workstations are named OMG-David-Caruso-01,
OMG-David-Caruso-02, ...


Re:just please not CSI geeks. no rly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100453)

On the other hand, it would be ideal workstation to create a GUI interface using Visual Basic to track an IP address [] .

Depends on the situation (1)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100151)

I've seen a variety of things done. Personally, I named computers by division and assigned the computers from there. This worked fine for a group of about 25 people, but could be problematic when running into larger groups. I'm not sure how a larger group would do it, but I'm sure it would be done somewhat differently.

Re:Depends on the situation (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100303)

We name by SITE_DIVISION_BUILDING_ROOM_UID. Just from looking at a WS ID, we know just about where it is. If a user calls and only knows their building and room, we can easily isolate the machine.

Re:Depends on the situation (1)

Amigan (25469) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100375)

We took it the extreme, having a set for development and another set for production use. Machines were named [pd]NOSLevel.
  • d1sol26 implies Development machine 1, Solaris 2.6
  • p1solx26 implies Production machine 1, Solaris-x86 2.6

For every d there was a p. Numbers were reused with each version of the OS. Issue became remember which machine N had the application that you needed.


Re:Depends on the situation (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100541)

One might avoid putting too much information into the name, though. "Acct0001" or "HR0001" identify themselves as ideal targets for people to break in to and search for information. "Boss0001" is just as bad.

A computer name is not a database (5, Insightful)

rminsk (831757) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100175)

A computer name should not be a database. If you want to store information such as site, warranty end date, machine type, ... use a database.

Idiotic question (0, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100177)

This is the dumbest Ask Slashdot, evar.

Bland but it works. (1)

Underfunded (1039600) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100187)

Well, I typically rebuild an entire system when they are reassigned so tying the name to the user is possible but I still try not to as it ends up cluttering my AD. I prefer standardized names which tend to include the Site, Department, Type (laptop/desktop), and a number identifier so a customer in Boston MA in the Accounting department with a Desktop might be BOSACCDSK0001. Very bland and unimaginative but it works well.

Top 5 Naming Conventions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100191)


ID + spreadsheet (0, Redundant)

atmtarzy (1267802) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100203)

Give each station a unique id for its name, and store all the other information in a spreadsheet.

Location? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100207)

I name them by location eg. Building-Room-{Front, Back, Left, Right...} makes tracking them down a bit easier provided no one moved it...

Easy... (2, Funny)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100211)


i.e. gla-hub-04a-001

or here's a off the wall idea...

Number them as: City(or location)+machines static IP address within the internal network.

i.e. Glasgow-10-10-11-124


Re:Easy... (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100253)

I laughed out loud. Using the IP address as the hostname? Genius.

Re:Easy... (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100255)

Uhhh, static IP addresses on workstations? No, thanks.

Re:Easy... (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100309)

If the OP wanted a sensible suggestions why did he post he...

Oh wait it was a KDawson post.. never mind...

Re:Easy... (1)

Snarf You (1285360) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100355)

Just name each computer after its MAC address. </drunkhumor>

Top 5 Naming Conventions (0, Troll)

Fat Wang (1230914) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100217)

Spanky SpankyRex SpankasaurousRex SpankyRexWearinSomeSpanks Spanktard007

Make it short and simple (1)

kregg (1619907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100221)

Make it short and simple, there is nothing worse than pc names like hdh02039024904. Also, refrain from using names like enterprise, chewbacca, kryten as they make you look like a real nerd.

Re:Make it short and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100427)

Great now I got to change my top three.

We use nonsense names and simple words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100231)

They're short, English (or English-like) and easy to keep in mind when you're using them. It beats the last place I worked where it was something like your logical purpose in the company (prog-, admin-, etc.) plus your username.

Put the extra information in a database or spreadsheet, not in the machine name.

I ran out of names for my workstation (4, Funny)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100235)

My first workstation was named tangent (after myself!)
My second workstation was named sine, followed by cosine, secant, cosecant and cotangent.
I got stuck for a while before I decided to go with arctangent, arcsine, etc but that didn't last
So out came hyperbolictangent... and I promptly gave up and now I name them after hot young female movie stars.

Morale of the story: Make sure your naming convention has room for expansion.

Re:I ran out of names for my workstation (1)

jargonCCNA (531779) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100305)

I once used stellar bodies, in progressive order away from Sol. I gave the company president permanent use of SOL and PROXIMACENTAURI for his desktop and laptop, respectively. Everything else was in order of purchase. You'll never run out, and it gives you (if you maintain your familiarity with what stars are where) a rough idea of how old the thing is. The only hard part is finding the right table of stars to work from, and deciding how to deal with the the eventual alpha-sirius, beta-sirius, gamma-sirius issues if you want to just call one SIRIUS.

Re:I ran out of names for my workstation (4, Funny)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100341)

I started off naming my (personal) workstations after cats that we'd had that had passed away. Eventually my hobby outpaced the number of cats, so I had to start rubbin' em out manually.

Re:I ran out of names for my workstation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100587) I had to start rubbin' em out manually.

just like all the other posters on slashdot....

obvious problem (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100613)

you're not sacrificing enough cats

I never run out of names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100493)

I name them all "Steve".

Re:I ran out of names for my workstation (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100503)

My first workstation was named tangent (after myself!)
My second workstation was named sine, followed by cosine, secant, cosecant and cotangent.
I got stuck for a while before I decided to go with arctangent, arcsine, etc but that didn't last


I once run into a guy named “Marc” whose station was named “Marcellino“. Why the discrepancy, I asked???

It came so because his first worstation was named “marc”, then his second “marcel”, then his third “marcellin” (all valid french names) and you can guess now that he is at his fourth workstation.

Needless to say, he now has reached the end-of-life for his naming scheme

Depends, really... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100245)

I'm not a fan of crazy overloading(the name has to be unique in any case and I'd rather do a lookup if I really need the warranty details, rather than stare a nasty truncated version of them in the face every day); but what works best really depends on how computers are used in your organization.

For instance, if you have laptops, individually assigned to employees, and relatively low turnover, a name that tells you about the machine's primary user is really handy. It allows you to instantly associate the voice on the other end of the phone, or the name on the trouble ticket, with the machine in question.

If you have desktops, location based naming might be more useful, particularly if users move around, are replaced frequently, or share hardware per shift or something.

It's hard to give general rules for naming because, in essence, a name should capture(as succinctly as possible) the salient characteristics that make something unique. Exactly what those characteristics are depends heavily on how your organization is set up.

Keep the name simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100251)

and keep all the other information (hardware type, user, etc) in a separate database using the name as the key. I worked in a large shop and everything (machine name, ip address, etc) all came from a server when the machine booted up. This made it easy when a machine failed. It only took a couple of updates at the server to assign ip addresses, names, users. etc if the hardware failed or was upgraded.

Yes, name (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100267)

We used to name our machines by location (room number), but renovations and office swaps are far too common to do that anymore. We now name the machine by the username of the primary user. Since we have a policy of reimaging a machine whenever the user changes, this also acts as a reminder to us if it somehow was skipped. We also add to the end of the machine name an L or a D depending on if the machine is a portable or a desktop. True, we're smallish -- only about 100 PCs.

Now the old place I used to WORK, the machine names were all people-friendly FOUR letter words. PEAR, LEAP, HAZE, etc. This is because they were public terminals in a library and the printouts (at that TIME) came out by the machine name rather than user name. The BOSS always took GLEE in picking out a new WORD for the name on the rare occasions there were new terminals. In this case, the name was defined by a fixed location. We regularly swapped around machines and renamed according to the desk space's name.

We have three workstations... (1)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100277)

Their names are "TootToot", "WootWoot" and "S3xB0vin3"

service tag (5, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100279)

There is very little you can store in a workstation name that will be static and useful once you go beyond about 10 machines (maybe even less than that).

People move, machines get re-allocated, rebuilt, etc.

I use the service tag. Why? Several reasons:

  • its already printed on the machine
  • you can get it out of the bios when imaging the PC
  • its one less thing to ask the user for if you need to do a warranty claim
  • it will never change
  • if will be unique, presuming you are a single supplier organisation

Stuff like "bob-pc" or "accounts1" does not scale and either becomes inconsistent, or you need to keep renaming PCs which presents other issues (fucks up any configuration databases you have, etc).

So, service tag - boring as fuck, but does the job.

Re:service tag (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100397)

+5 insightful.

That's pretty much what my big company does.

Maybe the region/domain or functional group will be part of the FQDN, but the hostname will just be the service tag.

Re:service tag (1)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100457)

Exactly. You can get the location information out of AD (either the site, or domain name or IP address, or whatever). You can get the user by looking at who is logged in. You can get make/model information via WMI.

There's no spectacularly *good* workstation naming convention, but the service tag is just convenient - its stuck on the side of the box from the factory and retrievable from the bios come re-imaging time :)

Re:service tag (2, Interesting)

jcrousedotcom (999175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100617)

That's basically what we're doing - except we're dividing them by program (we're a government agency) which makes it a little easier for us to delegate AD administration to each group of local IT folks - we have 5 programs so ISP (Information Serices Program) is ISP-servicetag....

We're putting each program (of computers) in its own OU and granting AD rights to a group to manage the PC's in each OU (so they can reset, delete or modify the computer objects). We have 5000 desktops across the country and not everyone needs to have rights to everyone elses' AD computer object(s)....

Re:service tag +1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100445)

Dell service tag - because people who will get them (in this economy) are not going to last as long as your company's "workstation" leases.
Oh, place your computers and servers in the right containers in Active Directory, for easy management and policy assignment.

I think I'm in the minority here... (4, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100307)

...but I'm a big fan of giving machines actual names, after TV shows, bands, movies, fiction, etc. I prefer to log into "" instead of "LAUX001"; the former, in addition to being easier to remember, just gives the machine a trifle bit of "personality". Yes, I realize that the latter may convey more information (mail servers especially seem to do this: "CHIMAIL01", "NYCEXCH05", etc.), but it feels cold and impersonal; if you treat your machines as just machines, as just any old random tool you'd grab and work with, then they become just a series of interchangeable parts. Giving a machine a name invokes something, typically whimsical, that just adds a touch of humanity back into the system. Yes it's still a machine, yes it's going to spit out a thousand nonsensical errors when you forget a semicolon somewhere in your C++ file, and yes it will eventually be replaced, but for that period of time when you're working with it, you're just that little bit more connected to something more ... personal.

Maybe this is just old school thinking; it seems like this was much more common back when everyone had an account on the campus Unix boxen, complete with subtle importance ("Oh, you have an account on Kramden? That's a much faster Vax than Norton...what project are you working on that you scored that??").

Re:I think I'm in the minority here... (1)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100399)

Servers - sure, use a descriptive name for what it does or soem novelty name, so long as you're not planning on having a few hundred servers (which might sound a lot but many people do). Workstations are just too common for that though. Maybe on a small network you'll get away with it, but keep in mind that any successful company's small network will eventually become a big network, or at least end up with replacement hardware... eventually you'll either end up duplicating names, or run out.

Simplicity works quite well. (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100317)

We recently went through this where I work, one of the suggested ideas for this was this very crazy cryptic scheme that I found was difficult to read and self referential -- not very good when you are dealing with a limited number of characters. We ended up settling on [City or special campus]-[Department]-[Asset number]. We are on a smaller scale, mind you, but we should be able to easily deal with up to 10,000 machines on our network and with some reworking, many more. My main point here is that simplicity works the best. Make sure you keep an inventory database of equpiment and you should have no trouble as long as you stick with the convention.

Re:Simplicity works quite well. (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100365)

Err... deal with up to 99,999.

Really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100393)

Dude, if you need to ask this question then why are you in IT? Dear slashdot, I am wondering how other network administrators pick their underwear. Is there software available that is GPL'd?

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100405)


Oh and the number at the end can change. ie 02, 03.....99.

basic format of,


Hell you could even have something like

department-....-#num. Especially if your departments are particularly distinct where it would be best to reinstall the OS during a move. ( ie from a dev to a receptionist ).

KISS (4, Interesting)

Frippet (825472) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100429)

Keep it simple. I work at a college, and what we do for desktops is, we name them after location, room, number of workstation. So if the workstation is at our aviation campus in room Y109 and it's the 3rd workstation, it would be AVY10903 (AV-Aviation, Y109-Room, 03-3rd workstation) Laptops, we tie to users, we give it the users login name as the laptops name. We find this easy so when we have staff/faculty turn over, we are not running to workstations to rename them, and if its a laptop user that is being replaced, the laptop is returned to IT and we get it ready for the next user. This may or may not work for you, but it works for me.

Once upon a time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100433)

I named one of our machines 'yomomma', one of my colleagues started fuming about the lack of professionalism and said we should name the machines something like 'lab102'...

After a while we where called into a meeting with the chair with the topic 'how to name the lab computers' ( I was the admin).

My office mate started suggesting the names of obscure tropical fish.

I think I might have suggested the names of the seven dwarfs...

After a few minutes of such political incorrectness, the chair stormed out of the meeting after a short rant.

I eventually gave in and changed the machine names to various
birds of prey...

I would not have thought that machine names could arouse such a passion.

Nothing Fancy (1)

rainmaestro (996549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100443)

There's no need to get fancy with your names. Anything beyond an ID tag will be outdated in no time. Users change, machines move between buildings/rooms, services change, etc.

We just use the simple company-id# for all workstations. When we opened another office in a different city, we tagged all of those as city-id# to distinguish. Wasn't necessary, but we wanted to be able to spot those at a glance.

In the end, you should have an Asset Management solution in place that will track all the extra cruft. Building/Room #, assigned user, warranty, purchase date, services running, etc. No need to stick all that in the name.

Now, for my sandbox network that gets wiped often to test new tech configurations, all machines are named after rain deities. We don't track those in the EAM suite, and they wipe so often that names don't even matter.

DUH Moment on /. (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100449)

Why the hell do you need to give servers or any physical asset in a company names!!, it's not like they will come to you when you call out. The system we have were I work is simple, everything has a bar-code label with 2 number sequences with a space between them. The first sequence is 4 digits and designates the end of warranty period the rest is just a 6 digit sequence (numbers and characters). Simple and to the point, if you want to check who was the last person assigned that asset just look it up in the asset management database. As for names on the network for servers/workstations etc, yes we use the asset number as the machines name for login purposes etc.

Lovecraft (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100459)

We used to name our machines after Lovecraftian deities but some of the sysadmins got grumpy when they couldn't pronounce the name >

NGC 6960 (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100487)

Easy. Name them after nebuli. My workstation is named NGC 6060, for example.

Cities. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100499)

Here's quick list for you:

Buenos Aires
Sao Paulo
Mexico City
New York City

eventually you'll get to places like Holyhead, Waco, Palo Alto, Bakersfield, Piscataway, Sudbury, Guelph, Alice Springs, etc.


Two words (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100509)

Serial. Numbers.

Either assign them yourself (00001, 00002, 00003...) or use the manufacturer's serial number.

(Now, if you're doing it for your home network, that's a different story. Use the names of known ring-bearers, or secret identities of the Justice League, or actors who've played the Doctor, or starship captains, or whatever you find amusing.)

Beer (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100521)

One of our telescopes had computers named after German beers, since it was installed by German engineers. The main control computer was called kronen. The other telescope was set up by a Tucson guy, so it uses Mexican beer names. The main fileserver is named corona, for instance.

Random names (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100525)

How about these:

  - abcdef
  - ghiklm
  - nopqrs
  - uvwxyz

Then there is always:

  - bob
  - alsobob
  - theotherbob
  - notthatbob
  - bobby
  - bobbydoesdallas
  - bobbob

Name them whatever you want, since chances are by the time you get enough computers you usually have someone who decides on boring names like:

  - l00312
  - l78302

Simply because it makes inventory easier. In the meantime decide amongst yourselves and choose something that you like. Remember to take into account how many names of the same theme you can come up with.

Social Security Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100529)

Great except for my credit rating.


Physicists. (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100531)

I am a grad student in a physics department at a major university.

The grad students have access to a lot of machines around the building as workstations, and they're all named things like lagrange, maxwell, gauss, etc. (Bohr, newton, faraday, and the like are servers.)

Individual professors get to call theirs whatever they want -- my advisor's two are klingon and romulan.

Asset Tags. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100537)

If your company uses asset tags make the machine number the asset number. At least you'll be able to find it network wise, and when it get re-imaged the machine name will be easy to figure out no matter how hosed the original drive.

Also, if the machine changes users, the asset number is still relevant.

Names are important. (1, Troll)

refactored (260886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100573)

I have a long running argument with some of my coworkers about names for software deliverables.

I insist on something you can pronounce and preferably something that makes sense and gives a strong indication what it is. If you are really desperate, call it something cutesy that people will at least remember.

They want to use incomprehensible, unpronouncable, random strings of characters One True Official Company Blessed "product codes".

I asked them for where the One True dictionary of product codes is. There isn't one.

Ok says I. I'll call the software deliverable that if I can look at the back of the hardware device and see that string of characters.

Nope. Can't.

So the three of them overrule me and I left them to it.

Much though I detest the army... ye olde british army storemans habit of general to specific naming is Good. "Trousers - Mens - Battle dress - Khaki - Large" at least allows a dumb troopie to search through a pile of trousers and sort them on to the right shelf.

(Hint: if you can't think of a good meaningful sentence describing what you are building... you probably shouldn't be. You are building a hodgepodge and a mess.)

Two hours later I came back and they were _still_ arguing about _which_ was the The One True Company Blessed Product Code.

Hokay says I. You have convinced me. You have convinced me that if you want to change the names of the software deliverables to these garbled bits of line noise that you guys can't even agree on... you'll have to do it yourself. I won't.

Last I looked my readable / understandable names still held.

By IP address (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100603)

At $LARGE_COMPANY where I work, most workstations get an IP address from a DHCP server (doesn't usually change, in the form of, where ddd = dotted quads of IP addresses and is replaced with our actual domain. Since most of our staff have notebooks, this is useful for (among other things) figuring out where a machine is located. It also scales well.

For desktop workstations with a static IP (most of them are DHCP, but if you have a plausible reason why you need a static IP, you can get one), you can pick your own hostname.

All info about the machines is kept in a database, presumably by asset tag number. It would be nuts to try and overload all that into the hostname.

Before my part of $LARGE_COMPANY joined said large company via acquisition, our naming convention was userid-desktop or userid-laptop. That was not a bad system, but maybe not really a good one, either. The current system scales a lot better.

Changing hands shouldn't be a problem (4, Insightful)

barzok (26681) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100607)

Should computers be logically tied to the person that they're currently assigned to, or does that just cause unnecessary work when a machine changes hands?

The machine should be reimaged when it changes hands, so resetting the name will add about 5 seconds to the setup process. Not a big deal.

Location Tagging (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100611)

Where I worked before we taged ours based on office and location. If you looked at a sky view of the entire office and were given the computer's name you could find the computer based on the grid location. An example is GM25F. GM (means something to us), 25th collumn, 6th row. That way when we get a trouble report or whatever we didn't have to call anyone to determine where they sat since our maps could tell us just by computer name.

Make it memorable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100615)

Name them something a user can remember, even if they don't know the origin of the name. I like names from video games. Star Trek names are also fairly popular. Then keep the names in a database. If a user has a problem with the computer then there is a higher likelihood that they would remember the name even if they cant get into the computer. Then just look up the name in the database.

bad karma whore...thats me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100619)

Asset tags....hahahahahahahaha those are great gag stickers!

To ask this question..tsk...tsk...putting all that info into a should be obvious to someone with decent IT experience that this is a really dumb question.....I thought slashdot was for geeky IT guys and not guys who are faking it.


A good naming convention (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100633)

If, as I expect, you're working with Windows, there's an obvious naming convention for workstations: Start with Titanic, Yamato, Musashi, Edmund_Fitzgerald, Arizona, Yorktown, Bismark, Monitor and go from there. The theme? Sunken ships. There's an endless supply, and somehow, it seems appropriate for computers that are expected to "go down" several times a day.

This question (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100635)

I think I first read it on talk.computers in 1984.

There's an RFC for that (2, Informative)

dissy (172727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100641)

Just for reference: RFC 1178 []

While it is not a direct answer to your question, it does give a lot of good why and why not's on this subject. Just as handy now as in the 90s.

We used to do deptROOM[a|b] (1)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 5 years ago | (#29100655)

We had the fairly sensible approach of doing department abbreviated names, followed by room number, followed by a or b (the rooms did not have more than two, but if they ever did, c and d are waiting), so our graphics department would be like "gfx321a," so when we submitted a problem report to IT, they knew which guy needed to handle it (by department) and exactly where it was.

So, being in a whimsical mood, our supervisor dictated that we were renaming all the computers after superheroes. While this made no sense, the important information was kept in a database anyway, so no big deal, right? Except now IT guys had to look up computer names before knowing where to look for them.

The order of choosing names came in order of longevity (people there the longest chose first). Then, while this was happening, our overlord company demanded we put a two letter company code in front of all of our computer names, ruining our already stupid computer names. Could you imagine having "greenlantern" at Slashdot, and then having to ruin it by putting "sd" in front of it? "sdgreenlantern." [eyes rolling] Wow! That's so cool! You guys are so hip and cool! ugh..

Keep it subtle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29100665)

I prefer a naming system that when you're in the 'know' it all makes sense, but to an outsider its a bit mysterious. Here.. .I'll give a favorite of mine:

billy, cher, bell, bill, bird, boat, brain, crow, eye, fight, head, horse, light, master, match, mate, pit, roach, shot, shut, shy, stone, sure, tail, up, weed, flood, game, hay, jed, log, pea, pet, and weather :)

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