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Pre-Staging

How important is it to pre-stage infrastructure before deployment?

11th August 2020 | In Pre-Staging
 
How important is it to pre-stage infrastructure before deployment? This is a question that divides opinion amongst engineers from within all disciplines of IT. The brave and the bold will relish in configuring an environment from scratch implementing deploying from a pile of boxes containing networking, server and storage infrastructure. This approach is fine if you have unlimited time and resource, can afford project timescales slipping and costs spiralling.

An alternative to the late nights, takeaway pizza and endless amounts of stress is to pre-stage devices before shipping to site which is a service that Hardware offer many of our customers. Pre-staging includes adding configuration to CPE devices prior to shipping, to building a complete environment that covers all disciplines of IT prior to deployment.

Pre-Staging takes on many forms and at Hardware we work closely with our customers to devise a service that matches their exacting requirements. From simply installing the latest vendor certified operating system, through to adding a full configuration to devices prior to shipping our services take the risk and stress out of deploying infrastructure.

For large-scale rollout projects we can hold CPE devices in our warehouse and can apply configuration files and ship to your customer locations. We have many customers who use this service as it takes away the pain of managing large-scale, geographically dispersed rollout projects. We tend to work closely with our customer to develop a deployment schedule and work to fulfil this with the supplied requirements.

Typically, we are supplied the days’ requirements by 10am and we configure the devices which are shipped overnight to be delivered the next business day. Our customer then deploys their own engineering staff to install the devices onsite safe in the knowledge that they have been fully configured, and tested, prior to shipment. The shipment to site can also include other accessories such as cables, DSL modems, media converters to ensure that the onsite engineer has everything that they need to deploy. An additional service that can be used is the recovery and WEEE disposal of any onsite equipment that is displaced as part of the project.

For implementation or migration projects, we are able to deploy a complete environment withing our staging facility. We have a dedicated area where we can stage devices and apply customer provided, or in-house developed, configuration files to build infrastructure prior to deployment. The benefit of staging devices prior to deploying them onsite is that the risk of DOA equipment is eliminated, and engineers have the ability to see an environment in its entirety prior to onsite implementation.

We have used this service to cover multi-vendor technologies that include Networking, Security, Server and Storage. A recent project included a complete environment that was being shipped outside the UK to a managed DC location where our customer rented space. The environment was built with all devices being upgraded to the latest vendor recommended software release, the storage subsystems were built, and storage allocated to servers. The customer was then able to connect to the environment via a VPN and built all virtual machines with their full suite of applications on the servers. Once built the team were able to fully test the environment as a complete ‘unit’ which allowed them to confirm that it was fully operational and performing as expected.

Once the customer was happy that the environment was operational, we labelled all cabling and packaged everything for shipping to the DC location where local ‘smarthands’ were able to physically deploy under the customers’ direction. The system went live with zero issues, enabling the customer to meet their tight timescales and overcome the issues and challenges presented by the global pandemic that we find ourselves in. This ability to ‘stand up’ complete environments prior to deliver and enable remote access to engineers for system testing is a key benefit and something we encourage our customers to make use of.

Pre-staging equipment is now a vital step of the design and implementation process as it allows us to make sure that things work prior to the onsite installation phase. Now that environments are multi-vendor and far more complex than they used to be pre-staging takes away many of the unknowns that can typically impact deployment schedules. Hardware can work with you to devise a tailor-made service which not only meets your requirements, matches your timescales and deployment deadlines.

Paul Bonner, Head of Technical, Hardware.

If you have a project that could utilse our pre-staging services or if you want to discuss your requirements with one of our engineers, please contact your account manager or call us on 01285 771600.
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