Computer Naming Standards and IP Addressing

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Computer Naming Standards and IP Addressing
Last Updated: 30 May 2005

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Here are some recommended standards for system naming and
IP addressing in a corporate network or datacenter.  No
single approach can cover all scenarios and environments,
but this guideline should make a great starter template
for most networks.


Different environments use different approaches to
server naming.  Here are some naming schemes that are
commonly found on networks large and small:

• Plants
• Animals
• Disney Characters
• Cartoon Characters
• Characters in Mythology
• Characters in any book/movie
• Planets
• Constellations
• StarTrek characters/crafts
• Philosophers
• US Presidents
• Famous Leaders
• Ancient Cities
• Present-Day Cities
• Countries

The advantage to using a more consistent naming scheme
is that you can easily handle groups of machines for
purposes of scripting or maintenance.  Additionally,
if you take part in any merger (from either direction),
having a well-documented Naming Standard will make
it easier for you to determine the location of your

Be sure that you give some thought to the naming scheme
that you decide to use.  While you can't plan for every
merger or other type of corporate change, you really
don't want your plan to be shot to pieces by simple
expansion.  Standard growth should be one of your
considerations with your plan.  A naming scheme that is
great for 10 servers, might be useless with 25.
Conversely, the convention used by one of your good
buddies in a global organization, might be seriously
overkill for your 200-user organization.

A bad naming scheme can cause as much work as an
inconsistent one, if not more.


1. Do not create computer names that are identical to
   user names if you are running NetBIOS on your network.
   It can create havoc with the BROWSER and MESSENGER
   services, as well as other NetBIOS apps.

2. Computer names must begin with an alpha character.
   Windows will be very unhappy with you if you start
   your names with a numeric character.

3. Avoid creating domain names which contain an
   underscore character, particularly in NT4 and earlier.




• Windows XP actually prevents you from creating a
  computer name that is identical to the user name,
  whereas previous versions of Windows did not enforce

• While not as critical for small networks, once you
  get above 20 servers, it is easier to use a good
  Naming Standard than to keep track of which
  Greek deity you've already used on your network.

• While there is often the suggestion that obscure
  system names are useful for security purposes, there
  is very little to support this.  Anyone who can browse
  your network and see your machine names will have no
  diffulty finding out the names of your critical
  machines.  Once you have access to a machine, it only
  takes about 10 seconds to find out the name of at
  least one domain controller.

• Among the many benefits of consistent server naming
  are Ease of Scripting and Ease of browsing in AD or
  Network Neighborhood.