We hear it all of the time. "How did you set up our server so quickly?" Well, read on, and we'll tell you a bit about how we're able to deploy servers in less than two hours.
SingleHop utilizes the PXE protocol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preboot_Execution_Environment) to deploy new production environments. Not only does this allow us to have a turnaround time of less than 24 hour with new customers, but the environments are secure, and up to date.
For operating system provisioning on windows servers, we use Microsoft RIS (remote installation services).
A standard install of Microsoft Windows 2003 is completely vulnerable and can be hacked within hours of being online. In order to avoid that, a nightly update of the windows operating system is run on the RIS, allowing us to deploy secure Microsoft servers to our customers with no hesitation.
Our Linux provisioning tool is a custom in-house project, and acts a lot like the Microsoft RIS services. Our NOC technicians can generally install a new Linux OS on a server in under 20 minutes, and typically up to 10 at a time!
With these tools, SingleHop also has the ability to boot servers into a 'Recovery OS'. The Recovery OS is a virtual operating system that allows us, and our customers, to view files on a server that doesn't come fully back online. This tool is very helpful with troubleshooting boot loading issues, or gaining access to files that are in use when the server is actually up.
Each deployment is performed via our provisioning vlan for added security. This is a gigabit network powered by Cisco that is not publicly accessible. After the provisioning is complete, the customer is then configured on their own private vlan.