While naming conventions are notorious for being odd, quirky, and sometimes completely nonsensical, they can provide you with far more than a few inside jokes or clever references to your network manager’s favourite sci-fi movie. A good naming convention is an invaluable asset when dealing with expansion, emergencies and network monitoring, and there are ways of ensuring that your naming convention provides as much information as possible at face value. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best practices for network naming conventions.

Whatever your naming convention is, make sure you stick to it

Having a naming convention, and sticking to it at all times, is more important than what your naming convention entails. That doesn’t mean that naming each of your servers after a crew member of the Millennium Falcon is the best idea, but as long as there is sound logic in your convention and it provides specific device information at a glance, you’re on the right track. The importance of consistency can’t be overstated here. Having an erratic or non-existent naming scheme might not seem like much of a hurdle on a small-scale network, but consider the implications on a large-scale, multinational Wide Area Network (WAN). In addition, a small network can easily morph into a large, multi-dimensional environment, so keep this in mind as you’re starting out.

Good naming conventions can safeguard your network from future problems

Often, problems with naming conventions arise in times of rapid expansion or acquisition of other companies, and, by extension, their networks. It’s for this reason that any network can benefit from a good naming convention – even if it doesn’t have an explicit benefit in the present, it can safeguard your network against potentially catastrophic complications during expansion. Even if your naming convention is changed in the future, transferring from one convention to another is far easier than retroactively assigning naming conventions to an entire environment’s worth of devices.

What are some characteristics of a good naming convention?

In an article written for TechRepublic, Pierre Dumoulin specifies a few key features of effective naming conventions:

  • Parsability refers to how easy it is to glean meaning from each device name. Each name should be made up of acronyms or identifiers that represent actual information that is meaningful to anyone reading the name. Another benefit of parsability is that, with a structured and logical naming convention, automation and programming are easy to implement.
  • Character Count should be kept in mind and standardised wherever possible. For example, you might want to specify four informational components to use in your device names – make sure that each of those components sticks to a set number of characters in each device name.
  • Permanence is an important factor to consider, as your devices – as well as your workspace – may move or change from time to time. Consider, for example, the impact of naming devices according to their owners or the room they’re located in. Having to change device names frequently can wreak havoc on your environment, as well as your Network Management Software and your employees’ productivity.
  • Logic, as mentioned earlier in this article, is an essential component of any naming convention, both for the sake of your employees and your Network Management Software. A logical framework should underpin every decision regarding your naming conventions.
  • Consistency, once again, is key. Whatever naming convention you decide on, stick to it at all times.

Complement strong naming conventions with stronger Network Management Software

A healthy network starts with implementing, and sticking to, a sound naming convention, but to ensure the continued health of your environment, it’s important to invest in a Network Management Software solution that complements your environment and caters to its unique needs. IRIS provides scalable, intelligent Network Management Software that can be tailored to suit your network environment.


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