Place Names

October 29, 2007

Many years ago, when I worked in Vancouver Washington, I was introduced for the first time to the idea of naming servers. All servers have names, but the manufacturing client I worked at was the first place in my experience to use human readable names over something like "lkhmx18." The development servers there were all rivers (Danube, Orinoco, Nile) while the production machines were stars or planets (Mars, Orion, et cetera).

Some of the places I have worked since then also used names for servers, some with a theme, others just willy-nilly. My computers have had names for a while now, mostly centered around the Winne-the-Pooh characters. My laptops are Eeyore and Tigger, while the iMac is HundredAcreWoods. The problem with Winne-the-Pooh inspired names is that you run out of names fairly quickly. I have been looking for a new theme for some time, one that would allow more latitude in naming.

Recently I have been watching the Lord of the Rings movies and special features. I'm also re-reading the novel. It occurred to me over the weekend that Tolkien's masterpiece is filled with place names that would make good server or computer names too. Server towers could be named after any of the many towers in the story, while workstations or laptops could use place names. You could even use the names of the various characters for a good long time without running out new material.

With that in mind, I am thinking that the Mac OS X based machines are more elvish and the Windows boxes are dwarfish. The Linux based machines would then be wizards.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.