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FileServer1, DC05, ORLWEB01… what do these server names have in common? They are boring. Okay, they may be short and to the point, and strictly speaking they probably come close to complying with RFC 1178, but where’s the fun in that? Some sysadmins do like to have a bit of fun even when naming servers so we’ve put together some very cool and funny server naming conventions that we’ve come across. It’s just a server name, but why be boring when you can be witty (or weird). Here you go:
1. Harry Potter characters
First on our list is the vast array of characters from JK Rowling’s world of Harry Potter. Servers were named for professors at Hogwarts while workstations were named for the various students, Deatheaters, and incidental characters in the books. The Weasley clan alone could cover most of the workstations in a medium to large office – Arthur, Molly, Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny. Someone has also taken all the marriages and children after the defeat of you-know-who.
2. Star Trek characters
Old school however the various characters from across the Star Trek series and movies provide for a very large pool of names. Obviously, the captains must be reserved for domain controllers, Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway, but the rest of the crew names can be used as needed.
3. Star Wars characters
With six movies already out, a television series, and countless books, the list of Star Wars characters provided enough names to meet any number of servers you might have. Spelling them may prove to be a challenge, especially if you start to use the various Jedi names like Yoda, Mace, Depa, Dorak, Devan, Darrys, Jurahi, Kirlocca, Zhar, Bala, Obba, etc.
4. Simpsons characters
If you’re not a fan of the Simpsons cartoon show, this may seem like a limited list for naming servers, but check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Simpsons_characters and you will see that there are enough characters out there to provide server names for a fairly large network. And when HOMER crashes, don’t forget to say “D’oh!”
5. Greek gods
This is one I favour myself for my home network. Zeus and Hera are my domain controllers, with the various other names doled out almost at random with three exceptions. Hades is the printer, Cerberus is the firewall, and Demeter is the mail server. If you have had to deal with HP drivers, you should understand the printer reference!
6. Roman gods
I’ve seen this one in use as well, but it’s easy to confuse some of the names with planets if you don’t pay attention. With over 40 names to choose from, you can equip a fairly good-sized server farm with these names.
7. Norse gods
Old religions seem to be a common theme with sysadmins, and the Norse gods are not to be left out. Just be very careful when logging on to Loki, and you have to reserve Heimdahl for your border router.
8. Lovecraftian gods
If I had to do it over again, I would name my home lab for the various Old Ones and other deities from H. P. Lovecraft’s writings. Of course, since apostrophes are not a legal character in DNS or NetBIOS, I would have to get creative with spellings, but I think it would totally be worth it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu_Mythos_deities and name your firewall Nyarlathotep, and set your password to “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”.
9. Fast-food restaurants
Until Taco Bell wins the franchise wars, the network I used to work on that had fast-food restaurants as server names is in no danger of running short on names. You do risk getting cravings for food every time you do a security scan.
I think the network that used hamburger names for servers was probably a divestiture from the fast-food restaurant company, because they had servers like Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Le Royale, Whopper, Whopper Junior, Baconator, DoubleDouble, Sliders, SourdoughJack, Shackburger, Smashburger, WhiskeyRiver, BigCarl, Frisco, Single, Double, Triple. The list goes on… and you can create your own favorites.
11. X-Men characters
The first real network I ever worked on named all their servers for characters from Marvel’s X-Men universe. We had Xavier, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Beast, Phoenix, Rogue, Magneto, Mystique, and more. Eventually the company owner made us change them all because they weren’t professional sounding, so we went with our hometown city names. Much less cool.
12. Marvel superheroes
Not counting all the X-Men, there’s a ton of Marvel superheroes that can be used for server names, and I have seen this in use at more than one company. I just hope they don’t ever merge. How could you choose between Thors, Spidermans, Hulks, IronMans, Blades, etc.? It would be worse than Sophie’s Choice!
13. DC superheroes
For some, DC holds the upper hand over Marvel, and there’s no shortage of superheroes in the DC Universe that can share their names with servers. I’ve seen quite a few Supermans, Batmans, WonderWomans, GreenLanters, Flashes, and Aquamans out there.
For the smaller scale shops, the planets have often been used for server names. Of course, with the demotion of Pluto, which I refuse to accept, there are even fewer to go around. Some name can be awkward to use though.
15. HHGTTG characters
For the smaller networks out there, characters from the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series make for an excellent naming convention. I once was the sysadmin for both Marvin and FordPrefect, though it took three requests to get the DNS admin to change the A record from fordperfect to fordprefect!
Here was a creative naming convention with a bit of snark, because in addition to servers like blue, red, and yellow, there was ecru, umber, plaid, tartan, maroon, and both a gray and a grey.
17. Periodic table elements
While I liked how the sysadmins at one particular company chose a scheme that could account for dozens of servers, I admired how they grouped servers by type of element. Domain controllers were all noble gases, file servers were metals, etc. And they aliased every single abbreviation to the server name in DNS!
18. Famous scientists
Here’s a naming convention that pays homage to the giants of the past and present. Astronomers, physicists, chemists and engineers were all game, with servers like Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Curie, Copernicus, Darwin, among those used.
To be fair, this network was the network for a distribution company so the naming convention kind of sold itself to management, but imagine for a moment logging on to Budweiser, or backing up Coors, or patching Heineken.
20. Disney characters
They say you should pick a naming convention that has enough names so that you will never run out. Disney certainly fits the bill. Can you imagine the network that combines server names of the Seven Dwarfs with both the Star Wars expanded universe and Robin Hood’s merry men? I’ve seen it, and you just have to roll with it. It’s kind of like “Once Upon A Time” but with hardware.
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21. Fictional beverages
One of the best naming conventions I’ve ever seen involved fictional beverages from TV and film. Everything from DuffBeer to PanGalacticGargleBlaster was used, including Ambrosa, Shotz, Synthehol, Bootysweat, Butterbeer, Tantrum, and Moloko. Nothing like logging on to Moloko before a bit of the old ultraviolence, eh?
This naming convention was a bit more ephemeral than many, but for the company that used it, this worked. They had servers like Aquinas, Aristotle, Plato, Marx, Nietzsche, Bacon, Camus, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Sartre, and so on. There was no rhyme or reason behind what type of server got which name, which may speak volumes if you consider it too long.
23. Ivy League schools
I never could find out why Ivy League schools were chosen for server names in this small company, as whoever had set the standard was long gone before I ever got involved, and the company had nothing to do with education at all, but Harvard, Yale, Penn, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, and Dartmouth were all there. I guess that was too small a group though, because MIT, Duke, Stanford, Vassar, and other big name schools were all represented too.
24. NFL teams
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This one would be no surprise if you met the lead sysadmin, who lives and breathes American football year-round. I just really want to know what he will do if Washington bows to pressure and changes the name of its NFL team to something less inflammatory.
What’s the funniest and/or oddest server naming convention you’ve ever seen, or even using today? Do leave a comment below.