Server Names DO Matter

No they don’t!  Not really.  I read some posts recently on the age old debate on “fun” names verses “functional names” and thought I would weigh in with my own story.  Is “Prod-CA-01” really any better than “BigBoy”?  You still have to learn, ideally document, what that server is doing.  If you include that function in the name, SQL01, you run the risk of it not matching if the server takes on other roles or changes roles entirely.  You still have to learn what it is doing, which SQL functions is it performing, as even the smallest of shops have multiple SQL servers.

Ten years ago when I was at Claim Jumper Restaurants we converted from 2 racks of Compaq servers in a glorified broom closet to a half rack of virtualized servers in a colo 23 miles away.  With our bare bones budget we had just 2 VM hosts for the 8 or so servers we consolidated to.  We made the most of it with fun names.  We were going to have to “learn” which server was doing what so why not enjoy it. Keeping with the Forty Niner theme of our company we had the following names:

  • Smith & Wesson were the two VM Ware hosts
  • Motherlode was the SQL data warehouse server
  • PonyExpress was the Exchange server
  • WellsFargo was the financial system server

We named our SharePoint portal where all of the SSRS reports lived The Mineshaft.  We used The Mineshaft to get to the Motherlode of data which we delivered via the PonyExpress.  Sure beat MailProd01, SQLProd01……

At a place I worked at in the early nineties we got one of those fancy laser printers from Hewlett Packard.  It was named Huey.  When we got another one a few years later it was name Dewey.  I bet you can guess what we named the 3rd one we got!

When I got to Del Taco many of the servers were named after famous artist:  Davinci, Monet, Gaugin, etc..  The rest were named after mythological Gods or star systems and Today we have:  Polaris, Atlas, Apollo, Antares, Sirius, Orion.  Our latest “child” is Hades, our archive server were we send all that old data that we don’t want in our main database servers but don’t want to ditch.  Our virtual desktop server is Hydra (who lost out to Medusa).

Have fun with your naming convention.  You still have to learn who is doing what and the new guys get it figured out pretty quick.



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