Solaris Naming Administration Guide

Host Namespace

The host namespace provides a namespace for naming computers. Host names are identified by the prefixes host/or _host/. For example, host/deneb identifies a machine named deneb.

Hosts are named in hostname contexts. The host context has a flat namespace and contains bindings of host names to host contexts. A host context allows you to name objects relative to a machine, such as files and printers found at that host.

In the Solaris environment, host names correspond to Solaris host names. Alias names for a single machine share the same context. For example, if the name mail_server is an alias for the machines deneb and altair, both deneb and altair will share the contexts created for mail_server.

Network resources should only be named relative to hosts as appropriate. In most cases, it is more intuitive to name resources relative to entities such as organizations, users, or sites. Dependence on host names forces the user to remember information that is often obscure and sometimes not very stable. For example, a user's files might move from one host to another because of hardware changes, file space usage, network reconfigurations, and so on. And users often share the same file server, which might lead to confusion if files were named relative to hosts. Yet if the files were named relative to the user, such changes do not affect how the files are named.

There might be a few cases in which the use of host names is appropriate. For example, if a resource is available only on a particular machine and is tied to the existence of that machine, and there is no other logical way to name the resource relative to other entities, then it might make sense to name the resource relative to the host. Or, in the case of a file system, if the files are being shared by many users it might make sense to name them relative to the machine they are stored on.