What's in a computer name? A router by any other name would work as well ...

Finding a really good naming scheme for the devices on your network isn't easy.

xkcd permanence
Credit: xkcd

Once again I find myself pondering how to name the devices connected to my network. For the last few years I’ve used characters from one of my all-time favorite books, “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” so I have machines named Alice, WhiteRabbit, Gryphon, MockTurtle, Pig, Pepper, BillTheLizard, RedQueen, WhiteQueen, and so on. Oh, and my MS workgroup and WiFi names are both Wabe.

alice and pig.large Sir John Tenniel

My problem is due to a recent explosion of new hardware and virtual machines which has pushed my AAIW naming scheme to the limit … now I’m looking for an alternative.

A recent discussion on one of my favorite lists suggested the names of apple varieties as a scheme and that is, I admit, a pretty good idea. There are a staggering number of apple varieties to choose from and with books such as The New Book of Apples: The Definitive Guide to Over 2,000 Varieties it’s unlikely that I’d run out of names. Alas, that scheme doesn’t really appeal.

Random names are also useful and there’s even an online name generator, Computer Namer, to help you. To me this is only a weak naming scheme as it lakes a certain elegance and coherence (the first few names it gave me were “Kedevara”, T-800”, “Hyperbola”, and “Adrastea” … meh). Interestingly, the names offered by this service can be voted on and the top ten are:

  1. Axiom
  3. Nexus
  4. Skynet
  5. Orion
  6. Helios
  7. Fusion
  8. Phoenix
  9. Glados
  10. Paradox

Not bad. On the other hand, the bottom ten are certainly easily rejected:

  1. Bizarro
  2. VIP
  3. Hilly
  4. Scud
  5. Tsessebe
  6. Reindeer
  7. Blesbok
  8. Makemake
  9. Queequeg
  10. Barasingha

But I wanted something that wasn't random and I found a couple of other lists of useful names (Names Given To Computers and List of Scottish Gaelic given names). Those were okay but the best resource I’ve found so far is, as far as I’m concerned, the Web site Naming Schemes.

Naming Schemes is a list of lists and, be warned, you may well wind up spending considerable time researching a scheme that fits your organization and or your sense of humor.

file wenceslas hollar   the greek gods. jupiter Wikimedia.org

So, after considerable research, I think I’ve found a scheme that will work for me: Greek Gods. If you include the Olympians, the lesser gods, the Fates, the Muses, the Winds, the Titans, and the Judges of the Dead there is a total of 65 names which should be enough for now (I was tempted by the list of Hindu Deities but gods and goddesses combined, it’s only 39 names).

So, what’s your current naming scheme and what would you prefer to use if you could?

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