Server names: One of the remaining places where IT managers can be a little silly

Raymond Chen

Some time ago, ComputerWorld ran a story on whimsical names for servers.

I recall that at my university, one academic department had machines named up and down. I’m sure this led to some strange Who’s on First?-style messages.¹

The early email servers at Microsoft were named after muppets. I’m guessing that this came from the term Multiport Transceiver, generally abbreviated MPT and pronounced like the word muppet. (Nowadays, we call these things routers.)

When the IT department ran out of names of muppets, they started using names of trees. (Mine was ironwood.)

Nowadays, the names of the email servers are functional and consequently extremely boring. For example, RED06FT010 is a server located in Redmond, and the other digits and letters indicate where the server can be found. Sorry, I don’t know how to decode the values. I’ve never needed to visit a server in person.

¹ I want to think this was the physics department, and that they had four other servers named charm, strange, top, and bottom.


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