Custom Naming - Beginner Guide


The SovLabs Custom Naming module can help simplify and  dynamically create VM server prefixes. Using the SovLabs Custom Naming module reduces  the dependency on the built in vRA naming machine prefix creations which are  assigned

A PDF version of this guide is attached to the bottom for download


This write up will focus on a simplistic end-user driven naming  standard. The guide’s dependency is solely on using the Custom Naming module  itself with no cross-dependency on other SovLabs modules.


Plan the  user driven inputs

Many naming  standards driven by businesses today may contain multiple “sections” or  “variables” to their naming standard. Meaning that the naming standards are  broken up by either environmental or user driven inputs. The first step of  setting up the SovLabs naming standard is to first identify what the variables  are and in what order are they applied. The example naming scheme below focuses  on a user driven format, with some hard-coded variables that are not seen by  the end user at submission.

Naming Standard Breakout

1. Variable 1: Datacenter  Location

a. Example(s): Detroit, Atlanta, Site A, Site B…

2. Variable 2: Server  Use

a. Example(s): Prod | Dev | Test | POC…

3. Variable 3: Application  Type

a. Example(s): Application Server, Web Server, SQL  Server

4. Variable 3: User  Input field

a. Example(s):

i.       Business Identifier – Business Unit or Cost Code

ii.       Server Role Type – Example: Primary, Backup,  Tertiary

iii.       User Identifier – Custom characters of user’s  choosing

Example Matrix

Datacenter    Location

Server    Use

Application    Type

Misc.    Input
















Note: You may notice  that the numerical incremental count that normally would follow a common  naming standard is not in this list, that is done because those settings would  be configured in the SovLabs Naming Sequence configuration later in this guide

Create the vRA Property Definition(s) - Variables

1. For each variable,  create a Property Definition in  vRealize by Navigating to Administration>Property Dictionary>Property  Definitions

a. Create a unique custom property for each variable.  See the example below.

Property Definition: namingDatacenter

Property Definition: namingUsage

Property Definition: namingAppType

Property Definition: namingMisc


2. The result will be  4 new Property Definitions that will be used when creating the SovLabs Naming  Sequence and SovLabs Naming Standard

Create  the SovLabs Naming Sequence

The SovLabs  naming sequence is what applies the unique numbering to each custom hostname 

1. In vRA, navigate to  Catalog and browse or search for Add  Naming Sequence – SovLabs and click Request

2. Create the naming  sequence using the following settings

a. Sequence type: Decimal (Base 10)

b. Max sequence length: 3

       Note: Sequence length refers to the number of  numerals used to increment, not the max numerals to count to

c. Initial value: 1

d. Unique key:{{namingDatacenter}}{{namingUsage}}{{namingAppType}}{{naming Misc}}

 Note: Insert your  custom properties surrounded by curly  brackets. Anything inside the unique key field will be taken as literal if not  enclosed.

What does the Unique Key do?

The Unique Key defines the elements of the name that should be evaluated to determine when the sequence number should start over.

In this example, if your unique key is


This would cause each unique combination of those 4 items to generate a new sequence starting at the beginning, e.g. start over at 001


If the values for the input properties on run #1 are:









Resulting Hostname: ATLSQLPRDIDM001

The sequence number is 001 (Assumes Sequence Type of decimal, with a max sequence length of 3, Sequence Padding as 0, and an Initial Value of 1)

As new unique keys are encountered, they are stored in the Data section of the SovLabs Custom Naming Sequence profile in vRA.
These unique keys are stored as key/value pairs with the next value to be assigned as the value.

In this case, a key named ATLSQLPRDIDM is created and stored in the Sequence item in vRA, and the value is set to 2 (next value to use for that key)

The next time the key ATLSQLPRDIDM is encountered, its stored "next" value will be used.


Create  the SovLabs Naming Standard

The SovLabs  naming standard is what builds the custom hostname using the SovLabs Naming  Sequence configuration


1. In vRA, navigate to  Catalog and browse or search for Add  Naming Standard – SovLabs and click Request

2. Create the naming standard  using the following settings

a. Naming Sequence: select the naming sequence  created from the previous section

b. Template: {{namingDatacenter}}{{namingUsage}}{{namingAppType}}{{namingMisc}}{{sequence.tutorial_naming}}

        Note: The template property is the same as the  Unique sequence field from the previous section, with the exception that you  are now inserting the sequence configuration

PRO TIP: In most cases, the Template field and the Unique Key field from the Naming Sequence configuration should be the same, except the Unique Key will not contain the {{sequence.<seqname>}} value.

Naming Standard Template:      {{namingDatacenter}}{{namingUsage}}{{namingAppType}}{{namingMisc}}{{sequence.tutorial_naming}}

Naming Sequence Unique Key: {{namingDatacenter}}{{namingUsage}}{{namingAppType}}{{namingMisc}}

3. The result will be  a new Property Group created in Administration>Property  Dictionary>Property Groups with the name of SovLabs-NamingStandard-%tenant%_%naming_standard_label%

Apply the SovLabs Naming Standard

The SovLabs  naming module will override any machine prefix setting configured from vRA when  applied to a blueprint, reservation, compute resource, business group, or  endpoint. This section will showcase 2 methods for applying the naming standard  and custom properties for consumption.

Option  1 – Applied directly to the blueprint

Apply the SovLabs Property Group/Custom Property

1. In vRA Navigate to the Design tab and select a blueprint to apply the configurations

2. In the blueprint,  add a vSphere (vCenter) Machine  component and select it

3. Navigate to the Properties>Property Groups section

4. Add the naming standard property group created  from the previous section

5. Alternatively, the Property Group  contains a Custom Property named SovLabs_NamingStandard. This property and the value assigned,  could also be assigned directly as a Custom Property instead of adding the  entire Property Group


Apply the vRA Custom Property Definitions for User Input

1. In the blueprint,  add a vSphere (vCenter) Machine  component and select it

2. Navigate to the Properties>Custom Properties section

3. Add the Property Definitions for use with the  SovLabs custom naming configuration created from the previous section

Note: When adding the Custom Property  Definitions, be sure to select "Show  in Request" to allow the user to select/input values used for naming.  If the input is [blank], the  naming standard will blank that variable as well

4. The result is a catalog request blueprint that generates  a custom name based on input date driven by the requester

5. The VM component utilizes the end user driven  input to build the custom name


Option 2 – Applied to Business Group with custom  property values statically set

Plan the SovLabs Custom Naming property assignments with static values  attached to vRA Entities

1. Instead of allowing the properties to be  selected by the end user on request, the properties can be set with static  values on other vRA properties which are passed through when the build is  submitted. 

Mapping of Properties to Entity

Property    Name


Mapped    vRA Entity



Blueprint Component



vCenter Endpoint









Blueprint Component

Configure the SovLabs Custom Naming properties to assigned vRA Entities

1. Set the namingDatacenter  property on the vCenter Endpoint

2. Navigate to Infrastructure>Endpoints

3. Select the target vCenter Endpoint and assign  the value

4. Set the namingUsage  property on the Reservation

5. Navigate to Infrastructure>Reservations

6. Select the target Reservation and assign the  value

7. Set the namingAppType  and SovLabs_NamingStandard property in  the Blueprint properties

8. Navigate to Design and open the target  blueprint

9. Open the blueprint properties window and assign  the values

Note: The SovLabs_NamingStandard  property is what triggers the custom naming for the build. Without this, the  request will not attempt to generate a custom hostname

10. Set the namingMisc  property in the Blueprint Component properties

11. Navigate to Design and open the target  blueprint

12. Open the blueprint component custom properties tab  and assign the value

Note: Be sure to leave the Show in Request field as unchecked

13. The result is a catalog request blueprint that  generates a custom name based on static property values that are set across  multiple vRA Entities. The SovLabs naming standard will pull those values at  build time and apply for the custom name


Additional Information regarding the SovLabs Custom Naming module

· The module is not limited in any way to new custom properties that are created. Any vRA property can be inserted into the  naming sequence and standard to generate a custom hostname. Examples of custom properties for vRA can be found here (vRA 7.6 Reference)

· Manipulation of the custom properties can be    done via the Template Engine with documentation located here.    With the SovLabs template engine, specific characters or configurations can    be created to create a unique naming standard


 SovLabs Custom Naming - …

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