Planning Your SBS Network on Windows® Small Business Server 2011

  • 5/15/2011

Choosing Naming Conventions

Creating naming conventions makes choosing names for computers, shared folders, and users easier and lends consistency to the network. This consistency results in a more user-friendly network.

Choosing a Domain Name for the Network

The domain name is the most important and politically sensitive name on the network, and it is one you can’t change without starting all over and completely rebuilding your network. Do not make this decision without consulting everyone who has a stake in the result. By getting others involved in the process, you’ll have a much greater chance of acceptance.

Some questions to ask when choosing a domain name include

  • Is the name easy to remember, and does it make sense for the company? This could be the company name in its most common form or an abbreviation.

  • Is the name 15 characters or shorter? Use only letters, numbers, the underscore, and a hyphen in the name to ensure DNS and NetBIOS compatibility.

  • Is the name available? If the name is already in use as an Internet domain name for another company, you’ll have to either choose a different name or have a different internal and external domain name.

  • If you already have an Internet website, use the same name, without the extension, for your internal domain name. For example, if the company uses for its Internet website, use example for the domain name. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard Installation Wizard will automatically add a .local extension to the name you choose.

  • As soon as you choose a domain name, register it (preferably with .com, .net, or .org) on the Internet so that another company can’t purchase it.


IMPORTANT Changing your internal domain name is impossible without a complete re-installation, so picking a name that will last is critical.

Naming Computers

It’s easy for you to keep a map of what the different clients and servers are called and where they are on the network, but if you make life hard on users, you pay in the long run. So naming all the computers after Shakespearean characters or Norse gods might make sense to you, but it isn’t going to help users figure out that Puck is the Windows Small Business Server computer and Odin is the desktop used for payroll.

On the other hand, using Srv1 for the SBS server tells everyone immediately which computer it is. When naming computers, use a consistent convention and sensible names, such as the following:

  • SRV1 or SBSSRV for the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard computer

  • FrontDesk for the receptionist’s computer

In this book, we’ll be using a somewhat more complicated naming convention that identifies the physical host computer, the role of the computer, and the IP address of the computer. Thus our SBS server is hp160-SBS2011, signifying that it’s running on the Hewlett-Packard DL 160 G6 server, and that it’s running Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard. There are several virtual machines running on that HP server, so it gets a fair workout.

Our naming convention is more complicated than most small businesses need, but it serves our needs where we are continually building and rebuilding test environments for writing projects. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you name your computers, as long as everyone understands the convention and can find the resources they need.