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Why do naming conventions for virtual machines help with IT organization?

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Why do naming conventions for virtual machines help with IT organization?

A:

In the setup of multiple virtual machines in a network virtualization environment, naming conventions are important. They help to make the setup more transparent, and aid in the organization of these IT systems.

Having effective naming conventions can show users more about virtual machines at a glance, for instance, the hosts that the virtual machines identify with, the purpose of each VM, and where each VM is located. This in turn can help businesses to handle VM sprawl and some of the performance issues that go with it. In general, when people are able to look at a set of VMs through a dashboard and see them identified through naming conventions, it's easier to fully understand what's going on without doing additional research, and decision makers are more capable of changing aspects of the virtualization system quickly.

With this in mind, IT experts point out evident benefits in providing key information in virtual machine naming conventions. The naming convention should, ideally, identify the hosts and the location of the machine. It can also show, for example, whether the machine is set up to be a primary server or to play some other role within the system.

Two schools of thought have developed on how to best practice virtual machine naming conventions. On one hand, using an alphanumeric code to identify the host, location and purpose of the machine can allow the delivery of more information with shorter names. On the other hand, using full words, for example, including text strings such as “New York,” “server” or “host_one” in a virtual machine naming convention makes the names more readable and may help stakeholders to better scan the system and understand what's going on.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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