/ BLOG / Server Naming Schemes & IP Assignments

It seems that I’ve only ever hinted to my current host naming scheme, and that was all the way back in 2007.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of hostnames (for those non-techies out there), then a hostname is exactly what it sounds like. How we refer to a specific device on the network. You’ll see lots of different schemes and there’s not really a right or a wrong way of doing it in my opinion. It very much matters on your circumstances.

It was reading Geoff’s post on hostnames that brought this up and made me smile for two reasons:

  1. We both use a very similar scheme (elements from the periodic table)
  2. He’s got an extended scheme which helps him classify a host, based on the name.
Whilst I applaud the naming convention (mostly because I use it) and the shortening factor (which until now I really hadn’t considered), I do wonder about the IP assignment. If you’ve not read the article it boils down to Geoff using the element’s atomic number to define the host part of the IP address. For small networks assigning IPs in some sort of arrangement like this is fine. Especially in the context of a personal one. It’s fun and easy to remember if you’ve got a periodic table handy. Or you just happen to be a complete element nut, know it off the top of your head.

But in the real world, it all seems a bit dirty. I’ve heard of all sorts of schemes that people use internally - from the host portion of IP addresses relating to rack and position within that rack, to using an entire /16 and arranging the addressing based on the role, with massive gaps between the assigned addresses. As nice as it seems on first glance, it can become painful when expanding. There are obvious benefits of splitting your address space - Geoff Huston has a great article on it - but it strikes me that you need to be careful that you don’t take it a little bit too far. After all, who really enjoys renumbering a network?