Hostnames should be constructed so that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the network can determine the devices’ functions. However, there seems to be a tendency among IT people to give their devices the most incomprehensible names possible. For example, here’s a real hostname from my time in the field (I’ve changed the company name and details to protect the guilty): gadnslax1mai750901. What the heck does that mean? Is it relevant? Can I tell what the system is from the hostname? More importantly, can you?
In a training session for the network containing these wacky hostnames, one of the students asked what the hostnames meant. No one could answer without looking up the document describing the hostname layout. Hostnames should not require research! Here’s the breakdown of the offending name:
gad - The name of the company (GAD Technology)
ns - Network services
lax - Los Angeles
1 - It’s the first, um, thing in Los Angeles
mai - Main Street
7509 - The device is a Cisco 7509
01 - It’s the first 7509 in this location
The purpose of a hostname is to identify a device. Hostnames should be easy to remember. When a hostname is harder to remember than an IP address, using one is counterproductive.
When a hostname is coupled with a domain name to make a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), the resulting string should be obvious and simple. sw1.gad.net (http://sw1.gad.net) is a simple and obvious FQDN that describes the first switch in the gad network ...