Originally Posted by fogpipe
the places i worked were small web development outfits with maybe less then 20 or so machines. We used static local ip's with hosts files on every machine that had entries for every machine on the network. What if DNS goes down?
If that worked for you then that's cool. As with all things linux there's more than one way to do it.
Last place I worked had close on 200 devices (a mixture of computers, terminals, wireless handheld "gun" terminals, forklift terminals, and a number of different operating systems) in the main location with over 500 machines across the whole network. Try co-ordinating one change to a critical (router/firewall/proxy) IP across that number of machines and you'll soon appreciate that DNS is the way to go.