Monday, June 13, 2011

UC Keep It Simple Stupid #2 - Naming Convention Phooey

Ever noticed that every configuration example from Cisco for UC Manager names elements with the element type abbreviated along with a "-" or "_" before or after the abbreviation.  For example, a device pool would be named SiteA_DP, along with Site A's CSS being SiteA_CSS, and maybe some Internal_PT and PSTN_PT to go along with it.  This annoys me to no end, ultimately because it is a "zero thought process required" approach, and one that's taken all too often.  Think about it.  There's no reason to include a _CSS or _PT on the end of these configuration elements, because you can't accidentally choose a CSS in a partition drop down menu!  I have a (semi-)short list of recommendations I follow when I design a UC Manager naming convention:

1. Don't include the type of the thing you are naming in its name (did you think this WOULDN'T be #1?)

2. Establish the goals of your naming convention ahead of time, then tweak the names to conform to your goals. 

3. Think about scalability.  If your CUCM is going to be scaling to a large number of sites, opt for a standard site naming convention that won't require you to re-do things a year or two down the road.  
Your first location in Georgia could be GA1.  This works until you have 10 sites in GA, then the formatting gets a bit hokey.  What happens when you need to add a Germany site?  You can see where this is going.  

4. Don't overcomplicate the naming.  At the same time, if you know for sure that your organization will never scale outside of 10 sites in GA, just call the sites by whatever common name you usually refer to them.  Don't bloat your naming and make things confusing if you don't have to.  While this may seem to conflict with #4, remember that it's your job we're trying to make easier here, and the job of the person that will replace you (because you're so awesome at this naming convention business, you got a promotion).

5. Be descriptive for the function of the element, and don't be afraid to include a space or two or three in the name.  Seriously, it won't hurt anything.  (There's a caveat for this in complex dial-plans, where there is a 512 character limit of the partitions in your individual CSS's.  See here: 

6. Try to match up the naming of the functions to commonly terminology used elsewhere in the platform.   I've been in a habit lately of calling my phones partition "All Directory Numbers".  I've seen this partition named anything from Internal_PT to Extensions_PT to Cluster_PT, none of which logically match up to what type of numbers are put in the partition.  DIRECTORY NUMBERS.  Make things fool proof and you might just save yourself from...yourself. 

7. For site specific elements, decide on how you want those elements listed, either by function or by site.  I generally name my individual site CSS for phones "Site Name - Phones". Typically though I will also have a CSS for gateways named similarly "Site Name - Gateways".  In the drop down this would look like:

SiteA - Gateways
SiteA - Phones
SiteB - Gateways
SiteB - Phones
SiteC - Gateways
SiteC - Phones

You might prefer to have all the CSS's grouped by function first, then site name, so my individual site CSS would become "Phones - Site Name".  

Gateways - SiteA
Gateways - SiteB
Gateways - SiteC
Phones - SiteA
Phones - SiteB
Phones - SiteC

This ties back to #2.

8. Don't be afraid of using numbers or "_" in front of names in order to influence ordering the lists.  If you want a particular group of partitions to always be last, include a "_" in front of the name.  If you want something to always be at the top, number your partitions starting with 0. 

Naming conventions are NOT an exact science, and are very subjective.  That's why it's important to establish your own naming guidelines before you set out to design or redesign your own infrastructure.  Now I'm going to go rename this blog UnifiedConfusion_BLOG.

1 comment:

Jeremiah said...

Awesome suggestions!