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I Want Names for my Servers!

CmdrTaco posted about 15 years ago | from the I-know-where-you're-coming-from dept.

News 862

Andrew Smith has written an excellent little feature on something so obvious that we usually don't give it a second thought: Server naming conventions. Since all my old machines are named after charachters from The Little Mermaid, and all the new Slashdot boxes use boring naming conventions like 'Linux360' (not for long tho!) I can understand this one. Its worth a read.The following was written by Slashdot Reader Andrew Smith.

I don't want a Lime Mac, I want Names for my Servers!

In some small way I, as a System Engineer, can derive pride from giving my servers loving ,meaningful names. Names like Xavier, Donald Duck, and Cyclops. In fact, this task that has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of being a System Engineer. Now they try to take this away from me.

"System Engineer" is the loving title my employer gives members of our small group that takes care of the servers. Linux, Solaris, AIX, NT, Novell; we are the shepherds that hold this herd together. Often we pet our respective servers, maybe run our hands over their keyboards or do a quick ping just to make sure they are okay. A server likes to be treated nicely, and if I must call it LNXSERVER0143 then it just doesn't get the kind of treatmeent it deserves.

At my previous employer the Netware goons had taken the initiative of using cartoon characters as the naming scheme. It all started with Rocky and Bullwinkle, moved on to Looney Toons, and slowly evolved to include Sesame Street for the NT machines and Disney Characters for the Unix machines. Nothing like logging in to WILE_E_COYOTE, BUGS_BUNNY, or ELMO to cheer up your day in your little cube of isolation. It helps to humanize those objects that can be such a pain. I recently heard of a company using characters from 'Taxi' and 'Mary Tyler Moore'. Being able to say, "Hey, is the hard drive on Mary going?" or "Rhoda isn't accepting logins any more" or "Someone tried to hack RevJim" provides just the kind of relief needed in that time of crisis. Of course, it's also fun.

But in the last few weeks I stepped out on the limb where I now am. I felt the rather lame practice of naming servers after trees (we have Ash, Oak, and Pine as well as others) was getting on my nerves. So I took the chance and named a few servers after X-Men. It's a good theme, with lots of characters to choose from and lots of cool graphics easily available. There is, of course, no official written standard at my employer, but the helpdesk supervisor who had his new app on the servers felt that Xavier, Storm, and Cyclops were not professional enough. They just didn't have the professional feeling of "Oak" and "Ash".

My day was, of course, destroyed. We System Engineers now are tasked to come up with a professional-sounding naming scheme or live with something as intelligent as the machine OS concatenated with the serial and model number, or some such nonsense. Oh the horror! Can you imagine "SOLARISSPRC20SN324234"? What a wonderful name!

Granted, one of my coworkers has suggested Dilligaf. With a little knowledge that one doesn't go over well, and it is but one name. A consistent theme is needed, a theme that fits with the System Engineers, the people who keep the servers happy.

The question has been posed "How will a new person know what the server does if it isn't named something logical?" Well, any person worth their weight in bits knows that XAVIER is probably a primary or secondary DNS, and CYCLOPS of course is a Helpdesk Web Server. It may take a little explaining, but my four year old could grasp it in a couple of minutes. I would expect a computer science major to get it in less than a few hours. And there are such things as aliases!

Xmen, television series, Star Trek ships... Give me my names, let me express myself! How can I as a System Engineer in my structured little cube with my structured little OS and my structured IP scheme live within these restrictive bonds forced upon me by an uncreative group of suits? I don't want a lime-colored Mac, I want real names for my Servers. I want to be able to have my NT Primary Domain Controller called CHER and the Secondary Domain Controller called SONNY. I want to have ELMO, GOOFY, and DONALDDUCK for SQL servers. I want to have Xena and Hercules be the firewall. Break free, my fellow engineers! Don't let 'the man' keep you down! Stand forth and name your servers, establish your theme, and create a standard before someone dares to put their foot down.

The freedom we seek today can only help those who follow us.

Keep the faith!

--Andrew D. Smith

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Warner Bros (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577276)

At work, we have named all of our servers. One of our hp3000 boxes (ok, tower of box) is named taz, an so forth. It helps out to, except for wacko, yacko, and dot have been crashing alot (nt :) lately. Anyways, yeah. FLaK Where is my mind, where is my mind...

Server names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577370)

I call my servers "Sahara" after my dog :)

Re:Server names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577374)

err, that is...Sahara1, Sahara2, Sahara2000, SaharaBSD, Sahara(etc etc etc)

Obvious Names? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577376)

Sorry, I did a computer science degree, and I see no relation between Xavier and DNS servers, and only the most improbable of links between Cyclops and the help desk. Maybe its an American thing. Can someone help me out here?

More names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577377)

Our computer science department lab names the boxes after dead "computer scientists":


VAX nodes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577383)

Disney characters aren't just for Unix machines. All our nodes at LTU are named for the seven dwarves from SNow White. Well, the first seven nodes, the rest are named for Star Trek (TOS) people. I believe my account resides on Uhura...

Pokmon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577391)

For those really large server farms, Pokémon is your only legitimate option. =)

Naming Schemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577401)

At my work, Ive been naming all of the servers
using words from the mix of english and russian
that makes up the special language in A Clockwork
Orange, i.e, my Fileserver/Printserver is Malchick
the SQL is Devotchka etc etc

Machine names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577408)

I don't get to name machines at work, but at home I've called all my machines after (semi) precious stones.

I started off with Diamond and Topaz. Then I sold diamond and I now have Ruby instead

Should be able to keep going like this for a few more decades :-)

The Miscreant.

Re:Mythology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577416)

Yep. We had some really good names in a place I used to work - Ariadne and her sister Chryses.

Of course some smart arse came along and names one of the development machines Euxanthius so that no one else would log in :=)

Naming convention I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577417)

Rhodes University in South Africa use boring animals for their servers (buffalo, jackal, etc).

The best naming scheme I could come up with was Asterix characters. Each character has a job that you could map approximately to what servers do in a typical office environment.

My 2c worth anyway.

Re:Soviet Leaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577418)

Figures you commie GNU people would name your machines after your pinko leaders.

Illicit substances theme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577419)

At a prior job, a coworker had started naming his machines after assorted drugs...

and so on.

But he needed a name for his router.

So I suggested after all, it's the gateway drug, right?

We use elements for our box names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577429)

Examples are:

Tiberium (My machine, but nobody seems to have noticed :)

I feel it, man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577435)

In My dept. at work we have the worst names...
Server like: SV00 - SV66, You try and figure out which are print servers....
User: "The print server is down!"
Me: "Which one?"
User: "Oh, I don't know... SV sixty-something."
(btw, there are 4 print servers in the 60 group)
our workstations are numbered Wxxx (In no particular order either, I suggested giving them the cubicle #'s, but nooo.)

But, at home i use cool names like:
Gossamer (orange alien side-kick of Marvin)
and Enigma.

I just got a new machine... needs a name... any suggestions?

Re:Naming conventions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577438)

Hey, I remember those books... The question is, do you have a Mr. Angry or a Little Miss Polite? -k

Re:Obvious Names? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577440)

I don't think it's an American thing. I was a huge X-Men fan growing up, and while I can kind of understand Xavier for a DNS Server (Xavier usually assigned the X-Men their code-names, so it kind of fits), I don't get Cyclops = help desk at all.

Perhaps it's "network admin" humor or something...

Re:Mythology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577447)

You could use Norse gods when the Roman gods namespace is exhausted.

Dead rock stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577448)

Here, we name our servers after dead rockstars.

So far we have

Elvis (The King is the main web server)
Big Bopper

I enjoy it. The machines seem to take on the personality of the sames. Elvis is a fat bloated beast, high on cheeseburgers, whilst Janis's throaty burr has been the undoing of many a company Sys/op.

In the past we have had

Kurt, Sid, Nancy, Jimmy.

For a recent addition to the family, I voted for 'Mama Cass', but sadly my proposal was rejected.

Re:naming conventions rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577451)

Dinosaur names. Jeezus, talk about never running out of possible names! Of course, after a while, we begin to get a little obscure.

My new laptop is names Qantassaurus. Haven't gotten used to that one yet.

Talk to your lawyer first? (0)

EisPick (29965) | about 15 years ago | (#1577465)

Given the latest Slashdot article [] about IDG's efforts to protect its "For Dummies" trademark from being used in listserv postings, you might want to permission from Eisner before servers after Disney characters.

Let's hope Disney lawyers don't get any ideas from this post.

how 'bout/// (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577467) !!!
(followed by some luser who writes: !!!

Got it, beeyatches!

Prisons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1577470)

I prefer to name my systems after prisons (People seem to remember the machine name better that way :) Federal & the state you reside in do the best IMO. For example I have: Folsom Bellevue Attica SingSing Rikers SanQuentin

server names (1)

Bobort (289) | about 15 years ago | (#1577472)

Here at school we've got all sorts of naming conventions. Most of our "real" servers are named after ancient egyptian gods (eg amon, osiris, isis, anubis, etc). The math professors' Suns are one, two, three, etc. The chem SGIs are all named after elements. And so on.
Having a coherent naming scheme is not only fun but useful: when a user says something like "I can't log into krypton" I at least know what I'm dealing with (IRIX, in this case). Using names like sparcstationnumber234 isn't just obnoxious, it's an organizational mess despite the effort to the contrary.

Creativity is the key! (1)

iota (527) | about 15 years ago | (#1577478)

My home network has all the machines named with hydrocarbons (i think?):

At work, however, we have creative names like:

And a few really creative ones on peoples personal machines:

Creative bunch we are! :)


My namings. (1)

Average (648) | about 15 years ago | (#1577485)

Around my university labs. Had a room of seven... for the Abbott and Costello fun of it, they are who, what, where, why, when, which, and how. Have another room (12) with Chinese Zodiac signs. Though not the reverse-name, I love the ability to 'telnet cock'. Didn't some university have a lab where all the machines had STD names (syphillis, gonhereea, etc)?

Gods (1)

Klaruz (734) | about 15 years ago | (#1577488)

A certain college uses names of gods for it's boxen, tyr, loki, thor, odin, etc. You can name boxes according to what the gods were known for. Works pretty good.

Shakespeare's The Tempest (1)

Phaid (938) | about 15 years ago | (#1577494)


...this is my home network, so there will be more when I get more boxen ;)

Double meaning conventions (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | about 15 years ago | (#1577511)

One trick I like is to come up with names that can fit into 2 (Or more groups of ideas) For example if you had 2 servers named "Calvin" and "Hobbes" you could name your next servers after some of the other Calvin and Hobbes charecters. Or you could name them things like "Luther" and "Huss" and after other Rennisanse thinkers. Lets you do fun leaps of logic.

Free SQL Servers -> Freebase :-) (1)

backtick (2376) | about 15 years ago | (#1577538)

Yup; I got nailed for using this one. I had a large MySQL server sitting next to our Sybase boxes, and since this one was a free piece of software, I named the initial install 'freebase'. It didn't go over too well :-)

We have many... (1)

moonboy (2512) | about 15 years ago | (#1577543)

etc. etc....
It's nice to be a little creative incertain areas of your job. It makes it a little less like work.


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein

I like cute names.... (1)

mabs (2595) | about 15 years ago | (#1577544)

hehe, I like it, and so do my friends, 'tidlywinks', and I'll keep going like that.
A friend uses a linux machine as a dial-up router, he thought 'nerdbox' was appropriate :)

Re:Machine names (space "vehicles") (1)

getafix (2806) | about 15 years ago | (#1577551)

I use names of man made objects that
are sent into space.
Magellan, Discovery, Endeavour, etc...

Naming convention annoyances (1)

thenerd (3254) | about 15 years ago | (#1577559)

One rant I have about naming conventions is that for some reason, in my experience, everybody has got to have *one* server called 'hermes'. I'm sure there's some clever reason why, but it does sound like a sexually transmitted disease. (There's an idea - name each server after a sexually transmitted disease).

As for naming conventions, perhaps biblical characters will have the necessary gravitas to sway the powers that be? I've seen types of cheeses but that was just strange. Whether you consider the bible your first port of call for guidance or whether you consider it a story (this debate has been played out in comments about Katz's articles), the names were fantastic and they all had roles. Funky graphics could be a problem, I concede.

It's funny how in business things have to be 'official' and 'professional'. It strikes me that it is this hankering after legitimacy that leads people to think it is Good to call a server 'S_ENT_450_0002_324923349' when they could just call it 'guanaco' and make everybodies day better. (Camelid names, while a good theme, run out after about 6 or so). This is probably the same tiresome hankering after legitimacy that means we spend more time auditing our work than doing it.


Hi to Dave Hughes and Ed the Lech. When hell freezes over I'll ski there too.

Islands, wines, and Native American tribes (1)

richieb (3277) | about 15 years ago | (#1577560)

Our network in Paris uses names of islands (madagscar, cuba, java, etc..), in London we use names of french wines (pauillac, pomerol, etc), and in NYC we use Native American tribes (dakota, cherokee, chippewa, sioux, etc).

The trick is to come up with names that hard to pronounce for people working in other offices.


Not that easy ... (1)

Tack (4642) | about 15 years ago | (#1577578)

It's really hard to give your servers meaningful names and still keep within a scheme, so I've more or less given up. :)

At home, my machines are named after galaxies. Right now I'm using orion (which seems to be very popular on the net), and andromeda. I mostly chose this scheme because it sounds cool. Originally I named them after planets (Jupiter One and Saturn) and each harddrive on them was mounted under names for their respective moons (atlas, titan, europa, callisto, etc.).

At work, our servers are named after birds. We're using eagle, thunderbird, raven, and falcon right now. Unfortunately, our web server is just "www" and our name server is "ns." This scheme was actually imposed not by us (the IT department) but by upper management. Our school has was founded by (and is still partially government funded by) natives, and so management wanted to retain some of that "feel." We just rolled in a new NT server who someone on staff wanted to call Phoenix. I said, "there's no way I'm going to give an NT server a cool name like Phoenix." :)

A friend of mine names all his servers after the seven dwarfs. This is probably the most interesting convention I've seen, and you can give your servers meaningful names. An NT server would be dopey. Solaris server would be grumpy. Novell server would be sneezy. Linux server would of course be Doc. :)

So, it's difficult (but probably not impossible) to come up with fun and meaningful names, but I've given up on that. Just give your servers entertaining names and don't worry about making sure they mean anything. You'll remember that foobar is your name server, and the new guy will learn that too. :)


Japanese movie monsters (1)

ed_the_unready (5193) | about 15 years ago | (#1577587)

My home LAN domain name is, and the host names come from cheesy Japanese sci-fi monsters. So far I've got 5 (godzilla, ghidrah, mothra, rodan and gamera), plenty for my purposes.

If your environment is divided between dedicated servers and client-only hosts, consider implementing a different theme for each, so you can readily tell by name which class of host it is.


Naming conventions I've used (1)

EngrBohn (5364) | about 15 years ago | (#1577592)

While I was working on my master's, there were generally interesting naming schemes. The Suns in "The Zoo" were all named after animals (and configuration management was accomplished by types of animals, e.g., "All the fish will be down Tuesday to upgrade to Solaris 2.6"). The SGIs in "The Louvre" were all named after artists. There was a network with all the machines named after MASH characters, and one named after Greek mythological characters. The network used for genetic algorithms research was named after genetics terms (Codon, Allele, etc; Creation was the exception to the naming scheme, but it still fit). The Beowulf cluster I built used a less imaginative naming scheme to keep configuration easy (ABC01, ABC02, ABC03,...). The "behind the scenes" servers were all named after airplanes (,, etc), until someone decided to use less interesting but more suitable names (,, etc).
My machines at home are named after SF authors (Asimov, Heinlein, etc)
I have to machines on my desk at work now. The Unix systems are all named after luxery automobiles ... I got a dirty look when I replaced the Sun "Allante" with a Linux box and named it "Gremlin". The MS boxen are named according to the primary user, followed by the Windows version. For example, I started with "Bohnca95". Now that I've replaced it with an NT box, I find it amusing that my MS machine is named "Bohncant".
Christopher A. Bohn

Sun machines (1)

Elmo (7644) | about 15 years ago | (#1577620)

We used to be an all Sun place so we would name our machines after things that were prefixed with "sun" and droped the "sun". It's a cute little scheme but as the old Sun3's die and get replaced with HP 9000's it doesn't make much sense anymore. So we had:

and my
and many more

Also my personal machine is called nuclear which just has a cool ring to it. It's also much better then lilac, which is what it used to be called.

Mythology (1)

True Dork (8000) | about 15 years ago | (#1577626)

I've been using Greek gods. I figure if I ever run out I'll move to Roman. If I get to the point that I'm running out of names, I'll need another admin in here :)

Machine names (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | about 15 years ago | (#1577630)

We're using characters from The Dukes of Hazzard. We've got:

Boss_Hogg (SQL SERVER)
Roscoe (Exchange server)
GoodOlBoys (Linux mail workhorse)

and probably one or 2 I havent remembered....

Totoro (1)

jukervin (8659) | about 15 years ago | (#1577631)

My personal computer is called TOTORO after the character in Hayao Miyazaki cartoon "My Neighbor Totoro"

More info about the film is at []

Rockets scientists and job title rant. (1)

afniv (10789) | about 15 years ago | (#1577642)

Is a "System Engineer" referred to here on /. really an engineer? In my world (aerospace industry), a Systems Engineer, combines a variety of engineering dicsiplines (electrical, mechanical, aerospace, software, etc) and oversees these subsystems to put together a product that satisfies the customer's requirements. This is a prestigous and difficult job.

I think administering networks can also be difficult, but wouldn't the job title be Network Administrator? You would never find a "Systems Engineer" administering a network at my company.

Incidentally, computer names I use for my several computers are rocket scientists:


I'm currently looking for a famous Russian rocket scientist for a third.

"Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"

name schemes (1)

DdJ (10790) | about 15 years ago | (#1577643)

I like to pick off-the-wall name schemes that result in individual names that aren't neccesarily that odd.

The name scheme I use for my domain ( is "characters from fiction who were false gods within that fiction".

My main web server is "Zardoz" (from the Sean Connery movie of the same name; in the movie, a false god chose it as a name in reference to the "wiZARD of OZ").

I have a machine at home that dual-boots between Linux and NT, and has a different address based on what it's running (so my other systems don't look for services that aren't there when it's lobotomized). It alternates between "Valen" (Linux) and "Sinclair" (NT).

I have a laptop, and it's really light, so I named it after the false Budda from Zelazny's "Lord of Light". It's Mahasamatman, or "sam" for short.

I once set up Linux on an SE/30 to work as a router. I named it "Legba" -- not after the real Legba, but after the AI from the Gibson cyberpunk novels.

At the office, our naming scheme is "people who died rich and insane". We're very flexible about this. For example, after Steve Jobs killed the NeXT machine, the Newton, and Mac clones, we decided "he's dead to us", so our NeXT print server was named "steve". Our SPARC is named Tesla (he liked to throw sparks), our main print server is named Theresa (Mother Theresa was certainly rich in life experience, at least, and seemed to live to serve others)...

World Cities (1)

Dionysus (12737) | about 15 years ago | (#1577655)

I use world cities.

The individual user systems are named after the user's hometown, although, for me personally Drammen was too long, so I used Oslo (hey, it's in the neighbourhood). Servers are given big metropolitan hubs like NewYork, London, Paris, Berlin, Bombay.

King of my own little domain (1)

superdoo (13097) | about 15 years ago | (#1577657)

Well I have Wallace Blue, my perky little 486 internet gateway, and then there's Warton and Emma the unfortunate PC's we beat on day in and day out.

Somewhat logical.. but I fear it's lame (1)

fuerstma (15683) | about 15 years ago | (#1577671)

For my network, I use the planets. Kinda lame and already done, but it makes sense. The firewall/computer seen by the world is sun since everything inside my network must revolve around it. My personal computer is mercury just 'cause. Wife's computer is Venus. Our NeXT is Saturn. Earth is a Macintosh not hooked up currently, and my laptop is Luna - Spanish for moon, since the laptop can be a satellite. I was going to go a little more in depth and make the laptop a name of a Saturn moon or some such thing, but I didn't want to get too obscure.

Just for the real curious, here is my schools (Mich. State. U.) Computer Science Department's workstation/server Name List []

my 2cents (1)

trexl (16434) | about 15 years ago | (#1577684)

The department I work for uses the names of computers found in movies, and books for the Netware servers. Preferably evil ones and obscure, HAL would be real boring. I don't read anything by O'reilly so I'm of little use.
I prefer to use weapons for Linux servers at work. morningstar, rapier, claymore ... emphasis on blunt force trauma. fistofrage coming soon.
my home consists of fuedal themes, with some odd ones for roommates. darklord - main workstation, darkknight - firewall/masq server, jester(darkdaze) - NT server, quake - offtheme, but necessary, my roommates have stupid computer names. So I recommend,
weapons, predatory animals, just remember OWLS not hooters

Rivers & Killers (1)

wangi (16741) | about 15 years ago | (#1577688)

At work we've got about 60 machines named after Scottish rivers... However I always laugh when I hear about the seismic boat that had it's machines named after serial killers. Quality.

Conventions at my weird little company... (1)

Seth Scali (18018) | about 15 years ago | (#1577698)

We actually have multiple naming systems. We name hardware development's computers after classic cartoons (Snidely, Dudley, Rocky, Bullwinkle). We name software's computers after people that the softare guys have crushes on (Pam_Lee, Jodi_Foster [that dude worries me...], and my own machine, Barbara_Walters...). When we hook up the machines we're developing to the network, we call 'em all Fred-- Fred1, Fred2, etc. It's boring, but you don't have to worry about accidentally logging onto one of the development machines and screwing it up royally...

Of course, at home, it's a different story. Shakespeare and the Simpsons-- Shakespeare for Linux, Simpsons for NT. Apu, Verona, Moe, and Benvolio. And, no, the NT machines *aren't* mine...

Oh well... I gotta go... Barbara's acting up again... she's such a naughty girl...

names are useful (1)

GC (19160) | about 15 years ago | (#1577716)

I'll tell you what really annoys me. I would love to give our servers meaningful names but we are stuck with things like CPQSV8 and the like, because of some idiots lack of inspiration.

It does cause a problem for our support staff as the end users need to have the server name spelled out to them every time. We just wouldn't have this problem if we had names that they could recognise:

backslash,backslash bugsbunny, backslash, mail

as opposed to

backslash,backslash,cee,pee,cue,ess,vee,eight,back slash,emm,ehhh,eiii,elll

I know which I'd prefer...

Some I've seen and used... (1)

Overt Coward (19347) | about 15 years ago | (#1577718)

At my last job, the development machine (for a government project) were named after characters in the move The Dirty Dozen. The test lab machine were named after Peanuts characters.

My home network uses place names from The Lord of The Rings, such as Rivendell, Lorien, and Minas_Tirith.


lack of imagination (1)

Misha (21355) | about 15 years ago | (#1577730)

A college back home called their mail server (Solaris) 'uhura'. I can't think of anything better for a dedicated sendmail machine than the name of a communications officer.

in our house we use names varying from FFVIII GF's to books by Terry Hatchet. I know someone who picked the name (tumbolia) for his machine out of 'GEB'. Actually our undergrad lab admins named some 50-60 nt workstations after the simpsons characters. It is quite fun to log onto Dr.MarvinMonroe or Mrs.Lovejoy.

But the prise goes a place where i worked over the summer. Two Sun Servers on it were named 'Cheech' and 'Chong', while 10 or so sparc stations were 'Crashalot', 'Useless', 'Pointless', 'Expendable', etc.

Drink! (1)

pawlie (23653) | about 15 years ago | (#1577744)

What better way to name a computer than after your favourite tipple? You'll NEVER run out of drinks, surely?



Naming conventions (1)

Homicide (25337) | about 15 years ago | (#1577755)

Sometimes conventions occur, whch when started are just a little joke...
But after time they're almost an institution.
Like here in out computer society, we have:
MrChatterbox (A routing box)
MrBusy (Primary login server)
MrWorry (A box which we're always afraid is going to fall over)
MrBounce (He goes up and down frequently)
MrTall (He's got all the storage)
ad so it goes on...
What started as a joke, has evolved into a semi-resonable scheme. Keep the faith people, dont let *THEM* get their way!

RPGs (1)

Scanline (28688) | about 15 years ago | (#1577778)

All of my Linux boxen has been named after filovirii, hanta, dengue and ebola (which in their turn are named after the places where they first were spotted).

If I'd have more hosts to name I probably would go for names from the Final Fantasy series such as cactros, sabotander and quistis. There are lots of cool names to choose from there.

Personally I'd hate to use cute names like bugsbunny and goofy.

Talk to your lawyer first? (1)

EisPick (29965) | about 15 years ago | (#1577783)

Given the latest Slashdot article [] about IDG's efforts to protect its "For Dummies" trademark from being used in listserv postings, you might want to permission from Eisner before naming servers after Disney characters.

Let's hope Disney lawyers don't get any ideas from this post.

Naming conventions (1)

Reinoud (33024) | about 15 years ago | (#1577801)

On my previous project, I named my SQL servers after Greek Gods. After starting with the names ZEUS and APOLLO, I even managed to convice some of my users that my naming convention was "the names of the dogs of Higgins in the TV series Magnum P.I" :-)

Re:naming conventions rock (1)

Mignon (34109) | about 15 years ago | (#1577807)

ping barbarella...

Too impracticle to have silly names... (1)

ViceClown (39698) | about 15 years ago | (#1577826)

I love to have cool names for servers (mine is Mr. Server (Like Mr. Coffee)) but in large companies it's totally impracticle. On large wans they should denote server type and location. For example: NTPA01 is an NT box in Pennsylvania number one. Boring but it makes more sense then logging into Zeus and not knowing where the hell it is, IMHO ;-)

Drinks (1)

oolon (43347) | about 15 years ago | (#1577838)

Personnally I went for the drink line, because there are alot of them... pretty lame.... BUT

You can type the drinks, so the big unix boxes where spirts, and smaller ones beers.

I used lagers for Xterms cos there are a bit week.

Leaving achopops for the NT servers.

Softdrinks for PCs. (diet ones laptops)

My box is absinth.

Some ideas (1)

tmhsiao (47750) | about 15 years ago | (#1577849)

If you only have seven (or less) machines, you could go for Gaiman's Endless:

Death, Destiny, Dream, Destruction,
Desire, Despair, Delirium

Or Buffy Characters:

Buffy, Cordelia, Giles, Willow, Xander,
Angel, Doyle, Anya, Oz, etc.

Or something a little more frivilous:

Gilligan, Skipper, MaryAnne, Professor,
MrHowell, MrsHowell, Ginger

My current hostname (which I got to choose myself) is based on a climbing term...thus:

biner, grigri, bight, belay, ascender,
boulder, bomber, crimper, sloper...

Machine names (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | about 15 years ago | (#1577853)

At work our naming convention is comets and stars Except for the workstations not owned by IT - then we give them boring names ;)

At home i do something similar - astronomers... Tycho, Kepler, Cassini... etc... etc.. etc..

Keep on a theme, people. :)

Welll.... (1)

Brew Bird (59050) | about 15 years ago | (#1577864)

I seem to recall UT used to name their VAX cluster after Dr. Who Companions...

Name after fast food (1)

EverCode (60025) | about 15 years ago | (#1577866)

Big Mac, Chulupa, Monster Burger, Whopper, etc.

Re:Obvious Names? (1)

centron (61482) | about 15 years ago | (#1577872)

If you had read the comic or seen the animated series, you would know that Xavier is the head of the XMen, while Cyclops is the pointman for the task force. Knowing this, the relation between Xavier and Primary DNS and Cyclops and Helpdesk becomes more clear.

We used to have a server named... (1)

Mr_Ust (61641) | about 15 years ago | (#1577873)

LongShlongDong But then the suits noticed and made us get rid of it :(

More ideas (1)

mrfantasy (63690) | about 15 years ago | (#1577881)

One we're using is classic video games (we have tempest, digdug, pengo, qix.)

Another I wanted to do was cities animated series are set in. I've come up with Bedrock, Springfield, Quahog, Arlen, New New York, and then my brain shuts off.

In the past I've used heroes/gods of the forest, Dr. Seuss references, fantasy lands, and subatomic particles (when I was a physics grad student.)

Naming conventions... (1)

cdlu (65838) | about 15 years ago | (#1577888)

For my own boxes, I have always had names that have something to do with me (canadia is my desktop, as that was my nickname at school in the US at the time, and my laptop's name is cdlu). But a more common practice I have seen, is naming computers after characters in books the admins happen to be reading (for example, the person who named a server in my high school 'ishmael' was reading Moby Dick), or after historical figures (cartier), or simply the name of the person who gave us the computer (adam). Here in the college computer science club, we have a naming convention based on the non-sequuitor. Our newest (oldest--its a 486, but we just got it:)) box is called 'eh' while eddie, jolt and salem are also in use. We do have a Mac Classic 2 running our clock in the room, so it is the Macinclock, but that is more againts the theme...or lack thereof. :)

Though the best way of naming a boxb has to be hashing /etc/dictionary, and taking a random entry from it. :)

A few of my favorite things... (1)

irrelevant (66554) | about 15 years ago | (#1577894)

MST3K Characters, Spaceghost and other cartoon characters for clueful users (my department),
the masses get something else.

Currenly it's 'pebcak-[09][09]'. Previously I used 'macluser[09][09]' and 'leech[09][09]' until a few people started to catch on.

Naming conventions (1)

smallmj (69620) | about 15 years ago | (#1577910)

If I ever setup a network, I've decided to name the boxen using the first names of Bond villians (only from the books.) They'd be easy to remember but not so obviously related to make me feel silly. Here at work all of our *NIX boxes are have generic dog names.

I'd much rather have Julius, Ernst, Hugo, etc.

Philosophers (1)

Sagev (71069) | about 15 years ago | (#1577916)

At the last company I worked for, we used the names of Philosophers for our servers. There's Aristotle, Plato, Zeno, and a new one (www4 right now, I'm fighting for it to be Ayn.. After Ayn Rand) But, this is a -huge- bank of names to draw upon. -Me

Corporations Do Not Appreciate a Sense of Humor (1)

noahclem (72148) | about 15 years ago | (#1577922)

In the corporate world (of which I am a denizen), only safe and committee approved themes are ever officially sanctioned. The word professional has been co-opted to mean safe, traditional theme. You should sit in on a meeting to try and name a new system - Let's come up with a "flashy" acronym with boring meaning.

The only humor anyone ever "appreciates" is the the division head's.

animals (1)

joost (87285) | about 15 years ago | (#1577969)

tiger, puma, shark, lynx, armadillo.

and ofcourse cow and chicken.

Re:Mythology (1)

biglig2 (89374) | about 15 years ago | (#1577979)

We had an office that used Greek Gods... one box called Mercury had to be urgently renamed after our WINS database crapped itself (thanks Bill!) so we switched to Hermes... one advantage of using Greek Gods.

Having my own ikkle NT domain... (1)

Rev.ViRTUE (98860) | about 15 years ago | (#1578005)

... named GOD, the logical names for my PDC and BDCs are:

You see, when they all go down..
then ..
God is Dead.

I'm sorry. That was awful.
Then again - it relieves the monotony of my day..

Just don't get me started on my Nietzsche domain...
Zarathustra, Friedrich, and so on...

Although, I do have a friend who names all his servers after metal band members.
It's hard to keep a straight face when you're fiddling around with the insides of M_Manson.


Clever--or Simple? (1)

John Murdoch (102085) | about 15 years ago | (#1578015)


I installed a set of printers in a client's office in Tokyo, and named them after Disney characters. The Japanese staff simply couldn't believe that their printers were named Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I went to Tokyo Disneyland that weekend, bought little dolls, and attached them to each printer with Velcro. The office ladies loved the idea--and conspired to never explain to the president (ancient, honorable Japanese stuffed shirt) how the printers were named.

We name both servers and machines here. Servers are named for Canadian provinces, machines are named for U.S. states (ideally the state where the user was born). The PDC is BC, the secondary domain controller is AB, etc. User machines are MA, GA, PA, NY, NJ, etc. We can refer to machines by meaningful names, but we don't have to type long strings.

The only problem with naming servers after Canadian provinces is that some of the staff are, um, geographically challenged. Not that any of us are heroes--we're still wondering what the postal abbreviation for Nunavit is. (Anybody know? We got a couple of new boxes coming, and it'd make things interesting.)

Lord of the rings! (1)

shanerw (104417) | about 15 years ago | (#1578027)

My machines of course are: Gandalf, Celeborn, Frodo, Bilbo, and Merry. My boss names his machines after one of the 12 apostles.

Computer Naming (1)

interrupt13 (105821) | about 15 years ago | (#1578034)

I name all of the computers on my network acording to what they do. I have one server that does it all.. Its name is 'God'. Its cool to say "You can't login, can you ping god?" or "God is going down for a hard drive swap." My primary computer is named after my old bbs handle 'interrupt 13' and my laptop is called 'mini me'. It just makes thing more fun!

The normal standard... (2)

Effugas (2378) | about 15 years ago | (#1578049)

Naming objects after something or someone is a time honored human tradition, enjoyed by cathedrals(Saints), weapons of war, and federal buildings.

Descriptive (as opposed to family class) Numbers belong in IPs, not in the names. Management which attempts to look professional by forcing mnemonics out of names is merely making their staff less efficient; humans are shockingly efficient at handling large numbers of names.

We're not that good at identifying objects by number, unless those numbers are drastically inconsistent(thus, the low number of phone numbers we know that are almost identical).

Myth, Literature, Movies, Movie Genres, Computer Components, Biology(I'm itching to have a Mitochondrial web cluster), Famous Wars, Famous Scientists, Tremendous Disasters(Hindenberg just went up in flames), Great Treaties(Versailles is looking OK for now...but I have a feeling it might fall apart), etc.

Humor is always good, but mainly when its subtle. That way, there's always plausable deniability.

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research

Boring/Hideous Female names (2)

jjohn (2991) | about 15 years ago | (#1578050)

Marion - Celeron 400 RH 6.0
Jane - Mac Duo 230
Edith - Cyrix MII 300 Caldera 2.2
Molly - Celeron 366 Win95

Don't know why, but these name entertain me.

Prolly need a hazel and martha too. :)

British geographical features (2)

LizardKing (5245) | about 15 years ago | (#1578052)

A boring way of naming serverfs, but an effective one, is to name them after geographical features. Here at Elsevier (my current employer) servers are named after mountains, workstations after smaller features. My two machines are named after small rivers ...

Chris Wareham

Sun hardware and McDonalds food ... (2)

LizardKing (5245) | about 15 years ago | (#1578053)

Sun hardware often has wacky codenames - my favourites being the `Happy Meal' and `Big Mac' ethernet cards.

Chris Wareham

Some themes: (2)

Apuleius (6901) | about 15 years ago | (#1578056)

1. a boss at a company I know likes naming them after Islands and Island groups. I guess he hates Yankee weather.
2. Bloom County characters.
3. Norse Gods.
4. Sci-Fi authors.
5. Some mail servers I know of are named after
nearby train stations.

I've noticed... (2)

sinator (7980) | about 15 years ago | (#1578057)

almost EVERY company I've worked for uses greek/roman gods (and badly misspelt, as well.)

So when I got control of the DNS zone, my first sysadminial job was to give decent hostnames.

One IP block got characters from J.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and "Silmarillion."

The other got Sumerian/Babylonian gods. Nothing like logging into marduuk to feel better about yourself.

AS for my domain, I just make as many cheezy puns involving thw word 'breakdown' as i can (the server in my info is down btw) (my *backup* mail server, isn't that witty!)

Basically, if I see another greek/Roman naming convention, I will have to slap people silly. There are hordes of fun pagan pantheons to use. Hell, they don't even need to be REAL! would be fun to admin.

I can picture an exasperated sysadmin. "Yog-sothoth is possessed, I swear." "What could possibly possess a machine named after a demon?" ( || "Something worse: NT.")

Junk Food Convention (2)

ArthurDent (11309) | about 15 years ago | (#1578062)

Here where I work, most of the names of the machines are names of different brands of junk food (although some have gone to brands of beer). For instance my machine is Swissroll, the file server is Twinkie, and we have other machines like Twizzler, Blowpop, Jolt, Pretzels and so on.

In another part of the company they started naming machines after planets, which was okay until they got to Uranus... It leads to questions like: "Where's Pluto? -- Over by Uranus!" ;-)


Keep fighting the good fight! (2)

FreeUser (11483) | about 15 years ago | (#1578064)

Freedom of naming our servers is a fundamental systems admin right! They'll take that away when the pry my trackball from my cold, dead hand!

Our naming convention is to name all Windows boxes after dinasaurs (guess why?), all sun workstations and servers after stars (ok, that's kind of boring, but millionair names kept getting more and more diffuclt to come up with and spell, even if you do have to be one to own one of those machines yourself), linux boxes after countries, with some exceptions for firewall, routers, and the like ...

Of course, since I define that stuff, I'm free to change it at will. The names do sound reasonably professional, and only insiders really understand why that flakey NT box, due to be phased out soon, is called stegosaurus. :-)

naming conventions rock (2)

TANGo (14094) | about 15 years ago | (#1578067)

When we had to set up the network for our company at the start of the year, it was agreed that we'd use SciFi chicks (and SciFi men for the ladies in the firm). Works pretty well. Can't get more appropriate than Ivanova for a firewall! Mmmm ... Zef ...

Some of mine (me too! :-) (2)

anthonyclark (17109) | about 15 years ago | (#1578071)

Only fools and horses characters (brit slant, but very amusing)
Philosophers - lots of long names though :-(
Plaid and Boards of Canada song names.
Local stars - eridani, tau_ceti etc. etc.
Gnu people - richard, eric etc. etc.
random latin - keeps the PHBs happy.
and my personal favorite: porn stars!

I think the thought police are after me though - I was thinking a couple of days ago how cool it would be to swap naming conventions on /. spooky eh?

rfc2100 (2)

BlueLines (24753) | about 15 years ago | (#1578077)

check rfc2100 [] out. This is a _true_ guide to naming a box (and it's in iambic pentameter).

Also, the company i work for has a customer who named all of their boxes after sesame street characters. You'd think it'd be easy , but try and name 10 of 'em...after you get past the big birds and oscars, you end up spending hours trying to figure out the name of the garbage man (bruno)..

Our scheme... (2)

Zwack (27039) | about 15 years ago | (#1578079)

In order to avoid "stupid" names our former illustrious leader instituted an excellent naming scheme. We can use any name we like as long as it comes from a standard Ordnance Survey Map (Whitby and surrounding area)

This sounds dull, but we have machines like tumulus, potato, hackness, scratch and scar.

We haven't yet used "Hole of Horcum" or "Lower Bell End" but one day they will take their place alongside Dismantled, and Danger Area.

Zwack (on Claymoor, as I'm Scottish)

Working on it... (2)

Foogle (35117) | about 15 years ago | (#1578085)

When I started working at my company, they had CSSI-FS1 and NTSERVER. Now, we've got Hamlet and Carrot. It's not much, but like they say: it's the little victories that count :)


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Wintermute, and Grateful Dead songs (2)

georgeha (43752) | about 15 years ago | (#1578089)

The first server I ever had the chance to name, I named Wintermute. This was in 1991, and it was a screamer, a 486/66 with 8 megs of Ram, 2 1 gig SCSI drivers and SCO/Unix, whoa boy!

For my PC's at home, I use the names of Grateful Dead songs.

My IBM PC330 I named Liberty. A catchy little thing, but with few prospects for expansion (3 slots, 3 drive bays, feh!).

I named the Cyrixed 486 I bought for $5 at a garage sale Deal, though only runs for a few days before the hardware makes it crash. It's due for a motherboard replacement.

I named the Dell 486 I bought at a garage sale ( I overpaid, but I had little time and I desperately needed a running server) Terrapin, becuase it keeps going, and going, and going ( you need to have seen the Dead do Terrapin Station live to appreciate this).

I still have a P90 to put together, maybe I'll name it Dark Star, since right now it's apart, in formless pieces of matter.


A rose by any other name.... (2)

biglig2 (89374) | about 15 years ago | (#1578106)

I used to work at Oxford University, called my servers Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Bud, Lou etc. But the best was the department that studied disease etc. theirs were called Typhoid, Cholera, Plague etc!

Logical Names - the Answer (3)

jd (1658) | about 15 years ago | (#1578109)

Do logical names help anyone? Really?

Let's say you have the "logical" name of Linux2214pc. Does that "tell" you what it does? Nope. Does it say what Linux extensions it has? Nope. Does it tell you what software is installed? Nope. Will it remain valid, after the next kernel patch is installed? Nope.

Now, I -do- logically name kernels, by what additional patches are in there. Now, I don't -have- to, but it's handy. I could -equally- use names of characters (real or imaginary) that symbolise those same characteristics.

Now, I'm going to turn the question around. Which is more "logical"? A name that has no permanent, derived connection with the machine, or a name which symbolises the very essence of what's there?

IMHO, the answer is simple. It's actually =ILLOGICAL= to name computers after OS versions, location on a network, or some other transitory feature. You move the machine, install a security patch, or add some capability, and the name becomes invalid. That is not logical. YOUR name doesn't become invalid, every time you read a book or move house! Why should a computer's?

What IS logical is to choose a name which symbolises the essence of what you're going to do with the computer. This will be far less subject to change than mere physical location. If I pick the name "Gandalf" for a computer, the chances are it's NOT going to be for word-processing. Most people know a newspaper is a place to turn for information, so a server called "ThePress" or "Tabloid" is readily identified for what it does.

I know, dull corporations prefer dull names. However, all is not lost. Either alias or multihome your servers. eg: Use a STABLE, SYMBOLIC name as the principle name, and use the unstable, lacklustre, corporate name as an alias. That way, you (and other general users) can know what's where, and the bosses can be happy, all at the same time.

(Sadly, I doubt many exec's would comprehend the benefits of compromise, like this.)

Beer! (3)

Booker (6173) | about 15 years ago | (#1578110)

My tiny lan at home is named after beer styles. The beefier the machine, the darker the beer.

SMP 450Mhz workstation is "Porter"
200Mhz gateway is "Lager"
133Mhz laptop is "Weizen"
486sx-25 laptop is... "Lite"

Maybe someday I can afford a "Stout" - or even "Barleywine!"

Re:Soviet Leaders (3)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1578112)

But history has shown how easy it is to get through Trotsky's ICE.

Now that I think of it, though, it makes sense. If Boris Yeltsin is naming his servers after all his prime ministers, then every time he gets a new box he's got to change PMs.
Wanna precipitate another crisis in Russia? Send Boris a laptop.

Soviet Leaders (3)

MaxVlast (103795) | about 15 years ago | (#1578116)

and Leon (Trotsky) is coming soon.

Max V.

Read the RFC... (4)

Blrfl (46596) | about 15 years ago | (#1578118)

RFC 1178 [] has some good things to say on the topic, too.

RFC 2100 (5)

Paul Johnson (33553) | about 15 years ago | (#1578122)

You could point out to your bosses that names like LNXSOX2324 are not compliant with RFC2100 [] . Also the ACM article referenced in it could reasonably be quoted as a summary of best practice in the industry.


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