Tag Archives: NamingConvention

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    A naming convention for virtual machines and home networks (Windows User Series)


    If you are a professional working in the Information Technology Domain you might have set up virtual machines to test different software versions, do Proofs of Concept or just use them for the ease of backup and restore.
    But what name do you give those virtual machines?
    As long as it are only a few, it doesn’t really matter.


    It becomes a bit of a challenge when you are have different virtual machines all with a specific setup, e.g. different versions of the same software.


    I want to share my naming convention that I use for virtual machines and my home network.
    It is pulled together from different sources in the internet, as well as my own insight, so don’t be surprised if you see parts of other standards.

    My device names consist of the following parts:
    1. Device type
    2. Operating System Line
    3. Operating System Version
    4. Separator
    5. Purpose of the device
    6. Sequence number

    A naming convention for virtual machines and home networks

    1. Device type

    Minimum and maximum length

    Device type is a single character.

    Domain values

    Namepart Description
    V Virtual Machine
    S Physical Server
    L Physical Laptop
    D Physical Desktop
    C Cloud Computer
    P Printer
    T Tablet Computer
    M Mobile Phone

    2. Operating System Line

    Minimum and maximum length

    Operating System Line consists of exactly two characters.

    Domain values

    Namepart Description
    WS Windows Server
    WC Windows Desktop/Client
    LS Linux Server
    LC Linux Client
    OX OS X

    3. Operating System Version

    Minimum and maximum length

    Operating System Line consists of 1 to 4 characters.

    Domain values

    For Windows devices use the internal version number:

    Namepart Description
    51 Windows Server 2003
    52 Windows Server 2003 R2
    60 Windows Server 2008
    61 Windows Server 2008 R2
    62 Windows Server 2012
    63 Windows Server 2012 R2
    100 Windows Server 2016
    A “C” can be added to server versions, if the “Core” version is installed. E.g. 63C
    51 Windows XP
    52 Windows XP Professional x64
    60 Windows Vista
    61 Windows 7
    62 Windows 8
    63 Windows 8.1
    100 Windows 10

    Get other/older versions from wikipedia.

    4. Separator

    Minimum and maximum length

    The separator is a single character: a hyphen (-).

    Domain values

    Must be a hyphen (-).

    5. Purpose of the device

    Minimum and maximum length

    Purpose of the device consists of 1 to 4 characters.

    Domain values

    For Servers:

    Namepart Description
    DC Domain Controller
    FS File Server
    PS Print Server
    WEB Web Server
    ORA Oracle database
    SQL SQL Server database
    DB other database(s)
    EXH Microsoft Exchange
    SHP Microsoft Sharepoint
    CTX Citrix Server
    ESX VMware ESX Server
    HV Windows Hyper-V Host

    This part is optional for desktop devices.
    If implemented, you could use:

    Namepart Description
    STD or S Standard
    DEV or D Used for software development
    GRD or G Used for graphical design

    6. Sequence number

    Minimum and maximum length

    The sequence number consists of 1 to 6 characters.

    Picture credits: © Yan Zommer | Dreamstime Stock Photos
    Numbering your Windows instances.

    Domain values

    A sequence number making the name unique.
    You can decide to make it unique based on purpose only, so you could have:
    DWC61-STD001 and LWC61-STD002 (so you do not use 001 for the latter).
    If you have a limited number of devices, you could put some intelligence in the number so you know which version of the ‘purpose delivering’ software is running.

    Example names

    Example name Explanation
    DWS63C-HV01 Physical desktop running Windows Server 2012R2 Core, being a Hyper V Host with sequence number 01.
    VWS63-SQL141 Hyper V Virtual machine running Windows Server 2012R2 with SQL Server, sequence number 141 (intelligent number, indicates that it is my first virtual machine with SQL Server 2014 installed, I would use 08x for SQL 2008, 09x for SQL 2008R2, 12x for SQL 2012, you get the idea). You could use this if the number of virtual machines per SQL version is less than 10.
    VWC100-DEV151 Hyper V Virtual machine running Windows 10, used for development, with sequence number 151 (intelligent number, 15 indicates it’s my Visual Studio 2015 virtual machine, as I have only one of those, 151 is an excellent number).
    LWC61-STD0554 Physical Laptop with Windows 7, with software for a ‘standard workspace’, sequence number 0554.

    A real life example.


    Do NOT use this naming convention for enterprise networks! Problems that could arise if you use it include:

    • A physical location is not part of this naming convention. In enterprise networks servers often have a physical location reference in their name.
    • The operating system is in the name. This if fine for your own lab virtual machines and home computers, but can be very inconvenient in company networks where the device name is in an inventory system. Enterprises typically do not want devices to be renamed when the Operating System is upgraded.

    So.. use this naming convention only for the intended purpose, and take advantage of it.

    Conclusion / Wrap up

    I posted my own naming convention for virtual and physical computer devices I use “AS IS”.
    I do not say it is perfect or useful in all cases.
    Use the parts you think are convenient and adjust further to meet your requirements.
    I would be thankful if you would like to share your adjustments with me, so I can update this post.
    I discourage to use this standard in enterprise networks. For more details see the warning/disclaimer above.

    (c) 2016 hansmichiels.com – Do not steal the contents – spread the link instead – thank you.