The ghost in the network

30.10.2006

The humble ping command came to the rescue. It detects connectivity and lets you capture IP addresses and machine names as it traverses your network.

TIP: Use an informative standardized naming convention

Cute server names may be amusing, but cute names can be problematic when trying to locate a specific item in a hurry. Encoding the location and functionality into the device name saves both time and aggravation. You should label every server with a tag bearing its name and IP address in a conspicuous location when it enters service. This technique may be low-tech, but it saves valuable time when trying to find a box amongst its colleagues.

TIP: Read your logs

A log file can be quite informative. If the data content is overwhelming, then export it to a spreadsheet or database and view it in sorted order. Old machines pressed into service a long time ago probably have nonstandard names.