The 24 funniest server naming conventions you’ve ever seen

ServerNames_SQFileServer1, DC05, ORLWEB01… what do these server names have in common? They are boring. Okay, they may be short and to the point, and strictly speaking they probably come close to complying with RFC 1178, but where’s the fun in that? Some sysadmins do like to have a bit of fun even when naming servers so we’ve put together some very cool and funny server naming conventions that we’ve come across. It’s just a server name, but why be boring when you can be witty (or weird). Here you go:

1. Harry Potter characters

First on our list is the vast array of characters from JK Rowling’s world of Harry Potter. Servers were named for professors at Hogwarts while workstations were named for the various students, Deatheaters, and incidental characters in the books. The Weasley clan alone could cover most of the workstations in a medium to large office – Arthur, Molly, Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny. Someone has also taken all the marriages and children after the defeat of you-know-who.

2. Star Trek characters

Old school however the various characters from across the Star Trek series and movies provide for a very large pool of names. Obviously, the captains must be reserved for domain controllers, Archer, Kirk, Picard, Cisco and Janeway, but the rest of the crew names can be used as needed.

3. Star Wars characters

With six movies already out, a television series, and countless books, the list of Star Wars characters provided enough names to meet any number of servers you might have. Spelling them may prove to be a challenge, especially if you start to use the various Jedi names like Yoda, Mace, Depa, Dorak, Devan, Darrys, Jurahi, Kirlocca, Zhar, Bala, Obba, etc.

4. Simpsons characters

If you’re not a fan of the Simpsons cartoon show, this may seem like a limited list for naming servers, but check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Simpsons_characters and you will see that there are enough characters out there to provide server names for a fairly large network. And when \\HOMER crashes, don’t forget to say “D’oh!”

5. Greek gods

This is one I favour myself for my home network. Zeus and Hera are my domain controllers, with the various other names doled out almost at random with three exceptions. Hades is the printer, Cerberus is the firewall, and Demeter is the mail server. If you have had to deal with HP drivers, you should understand the printer reference!

6. Roman gods

I’ve seen this one in use as well, but it’s easy to confuse some of the names with planets if you don’t pay attention. With over 40 names to choose from, you can equip a fairly good-sized server farm with these names.

7. Norse gods

Old religions seem to be a common theme with sysadmins, and the Norse gods are not to be left out. Just be very careful when logging on to Loki, and you have to reserve Heimdahl for your border router.

8. Lovecraftian gods

If I had to do it over again, I would name my home lab for the various Old Ones and other deities from H. P. Lovecraft’s writings. Of course, since apostrophes are not a legal character in DNS or NetBIOS, I would have to get creative with spellings, but I think it would totally be worth it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu_Mythos_deities and name your firewall Nyarlathotep, and set your password to “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”.

9. Fast-food restaurants

Until Taco Bell wins the franchise wars, the network I used to work on that had fast-food restaurants as server names is in no danger of running short on names. You do risk getting cravings for food every time you do a security scan.

10. Hamburgers

I think the network that used hamburger names for servers was probably a divestiture from the fast-food restaurant company, because they had servers like Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Le Royale, Whopper, Whopper Junior, Baconator, DoubleDouble, Sliders, SourdoughJack, Shackburger, Smashburger, WhiskeyRiver, BigCarl, Frisco, Single, Double, Triple. The list goes on… and you can create your own favorites.

11. X-Men characters

The first real network I ever worked on named all their servers for characters from Marvel’s X-Men universe. We had Xavier, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Beast, Phoenix, Rogue, Magneto, Mystique, and more. Eventually the company owner made us change them all because they weren’t professional sounding, so we went with our hometown city names. Much less cool.

12. Marvel superheroes

Not counting all the X-Men, there’s a ton of Marvel superheroes that can be used for server names, and I have seen this in use at more than one company. I just hope they don’t ever merge. How could you choose between Thors, Spidermans, Hulks, IronMans, Blades, etc.? It would be worse than Sophie’s Choice!

13. DC superheroes

For some, DC holds the upper hand over Marvel, and there’s no shortage of superheroes in the DC Universe that can share their names with servers. I’ve seen quite a few Supermans, Batmans, WonderWomans, GreenLanters, Flashes, and Aquamans out there.

14. Planets

For the smaller scale shops, the planets have often been used for server names. Of course, with the demotion of Pluto, which I refuse to accept, there are even fewer to go around. Some name can be awkward to use though.

15. HHGTTG characters

For the smaller networks out there, characters from the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series make for an excellent naming convention. I once was the sysadmin for both Marvin and FordPrefect, though it took three requests to get the DNS admin to change the A record from fordperfect to fordprefect!

16. Colours

Here was a creative naming convention with a bit of snark, because in addition to servers like blue, red, and yellow, there was ecru, umber, plaid, tartan, maroon, and both a gray and a grey.

17. Periodic table elements

While I liked how the sysadmins at one particular company chose a scheme that could account for dozens of servers, I admired how they grouped servers by type of element. Domain controllers were all noble gases, file servers were metals, etc. And they aliased every single abbreviation to the server name in DNS!

18. Famous scientists

Here’s a naming convention that pays homage to the giants of the past and present. Astronomers, physicists, chemists and engineers were all game, with servers like Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Curie, Copernicus, Darwin, among those used.

19. Beers

To be fair, this network was the network for a distribution company so the naming convention kind of sold itself to management, but imagine for a moment logging on to Budweiser, or backing up Coors, or patching Heineken.

20. Disney characters

They say you should pick a naming convention that has enough names so that you will never run out. Disney certainly fits the bill. Can you imagine the network that combines server names of the Seven Dwarfs with both the Star Wars expanded universe and Robin Hood’s merry men? I’ve seen it, and you just have to roll with it. It’s kind of like “Once Upon A Time” but with hardware.

21. Fictional beverages

One of the best naming conventions I’ve ever seen involved fictional beverages from TV and film. Everything from DuffBeer to PanGalacticGargleBlaster was used, including Ambrosa, Shotz, Synthehol, Bootysweat, Butterbeer, Tantrum, and Moloko. Nothing like logging on to Moloko before a bit of the old ultraviolence, eh?

22. Philosophers

This naming convention was a bit more ephemeral than many, but for the company that used it, this worked. They had servers like Aquinas, Aristotle, Plato, Marx, Nietzsche, Bacon, Camus, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Sartre, and so on. There was no rhyme or reason behind what type of server got which name, which may speak volumes if you consider it too long.

23. Ivy League schools

I never could find out why Ivy League schools were chosen for server names in this small company, as whoever had set the standard was long gone before I ever got involved, and the company had nothing to do with education at all, but Harvard, Yale, Penn, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, and Dartmouth were all there. I guess that was too small a group though, because MIT, Duke, Stanford, Vassar, and other big name schools were all represented too.

24. NFL teams

This one would be no surprise if you met the lead sysadmin, who lives and breathes American football year-round. I just really want to know what he will do if Washington bows to pressure and changes the name of its NFL team to something less inflammatory.

What’s the funniest and/or oddest server naming convention you’ve ever seen, or even using today? Do leave a comment below.

‘Because [they’re] happy’… or, maybe not. How can you tell?

MailArchiverHappy_SQCan you tell if your employees are happy?

With stress costing the US industry an estimated $300 billion a year in sick days, accidents and associated costs, it might be time to measure your employee happiness. Impossible! No, it isn’t.

GFI MailArchiver’s email management system can monitor your company’s mood. How does it do that? Watch our short video and discover how you can too!

25 tricks every IT support pro should know

25AdminTricks_SQWhat separates the end user from the IT super user? Tips and tricks, of course! Sysadmins, ubergeeks and other IT pros all know certain tricks, shortcuts, alternative menus and other arcane trivia that make the unenlightened stagger at their skills. Here are 25 tricks every support pro should know.

1. Enable QuickEdit Mode in your command prompt to make it easy to copy/paste. Right-click the title-bar, click Properties, and then check QuickEdit Mode. Now you can simply drag your mouse to highlight text in the command prompt.
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Talking tech to… My devices

VoiceControl_SQVoice recognition has been around for a long time, and the ability to talk to your computer or device conversationally and have it respond exactly as you want was perfected decades ago – in the movies. Real-life voice recognition technology hasn’t always worked quite as well. In the 90s, I struggled with Dragon Dictate, finally giving up with the conclusion that I could type much more quickly than the software could figure out my words. Things have improved since then – a lot – but I still get a good laugh now and then at the way Siri, Cortana and Google Voice misinterpret what they hear.
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Here we go again: Microsoft pulls another problematic patch

OneDriveRecall_SQMicrosoft’s August Patch Tuesday turned into chaos and confusion when a small but significant number of users reported serious problems, including blue screens, after installing the monthly security updates. The company recommended uninstalling some of the patches, removed them from Windows Update and download availability, and then issued replacements. This effectively stretched the patching process out over half the month – something that did not make busy IT admins happy and left some individual users frustrated.
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Cyberstranger danger: Traveling safely on the info highway

J003-Content-Highway_SQI enjoy traveling to new places and meeting new people. Over the last few years, I’ve been to Mexico, Canada, England, Scotland, Belgium, Denmark, Belize, Honduras and a few more. A few months from now, I’m going back to Europe, this time to Spain, Germany and the tiny island of Malta. Something I always keep in mind when I’m visiting unfamiliar places (including here in the U.S.) is that while people all over the world have a lot in common, some places are safer than others.

Honduras, for example, has the highest rate of intentional homicide (murder) in the world (90.4 per 100,000). Denmark, on the other hand, has one of the lowest (0.8 per 100,000), according to the United Nations Global Study on Homicide. Do I take extra precautions in Central America compared to Northern Europe? Absolutely.
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10 hacks that will make your sysadmin life easier

J003-Content-10Hacks_SQHere’s a list of 10 hacks that will make your sysadmin life easier. Have a look at these and see how many work wonders for you.

1. Use a text editor that automatically saves the previous version

Whether you use PSPad, Notepad++, or any other product, using an editor that automatically saves a backup of any file you edit can save the day. Whether your edit goes wrong, or you just need to fall back, having that automatically created backup makes it easy to undo any mistakes. Continue reading

Troubleshooting DNS resolution

Troubleshooting_SQA very wise man once said “if DNS ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. If we overlook the atrocious grammar for a moment and focus on what he meant, the statement is spot on. Almost all applications and services on the network are dependent upon DNS. Every user application is. And if there is a problem with DNS, no application will function correctly. Being able to quickly troubleshoot DNS is a key skill, and one that every IT pro should have. Here are some tools and methods to get you started.

Never make assumptions!

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September Patch Tuesday roundup

PatchTue_SQSeptember has long been my favorite month, for a number of reasons. I always enjoy the cooler autumn weather and the fall foliage. It’s also my birthday month – although the excitement associated with adding another year to my age isn’t quite what it once was. I still like surprise parties and gifts, though.

Microsoft didn’t surprise me with a one-patch Tuesday, but they did gift me with a relatively light slate of security updates this month. I’ll take it – especially if these turn out to be the kind that install smoothly and don’t cause any major problems and don’t have to be revoked and re-released (crossing my fingers).
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Troubleshooting networks with PSPing

Troubleshooting_SQTroubleshooting networks can present a number of challenges, particularly when you do not have administrative access to all the components between two systems, including firewalls and routers. It becomes even more complex when dealing with Internet circuits, since once your traffic leaves your network, you have even less visibility into what is happening on the wire. Tools like Netmon and Wireshark are great for taking packet captures, but these can be complicated to setup, can only capture traffic so you still have to generate traffic to test, and often grab far more than you really need, so you spend time wading through all the noise. If you want a fast, easy to use, command line tool for troubleshooting network connectivity, take a look at PSPing.
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