24 September 2019

Natalia Trifonova

Product manager DCImanager 6

How to find a good control panel to automate OS installation

There were times when data center engineers had to install operating systems on every server manually. It can work pretty well until you have a lot of clients and servers. If you do, then you the manual way is not really your option. Clients would have to wait for hours or days before they see the server they ordered. Of course, they wouldn’t appreciate it.

That’s why hosting providers started automating OS installation. It alleviates load from engineers and helps provide services faster. Today, it’s a standard if a server is ready for the client in 5-30 minutes after it has been ordered.

With time, providers started to sell equipment not only with certain OS preinstalled but also with other software, for website creation, application development, sales management, etc. Such software can also be installed automatically. The easiest way to do it includes using a server control panel.

Selection criteria

Different clients have different needs so it’s good if a control panel has flexible settings. Let’s have a look at what is ”must-have” here.

OS templates. The more OS are supported, the better. At least, it should be CentOS, Debian, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, and Windows Server. All operating system versions and templates shall be up-to-date.

OS installed from the client level. If clients can reinstall OS, they will be able to do their job faster and ask for help from support more rarely.

Clients can create their own OS images and use scripts. It’s good if a customer can build his/her own images and execute scripts after OS reinstallation. It saves time for a provider, and the client can do this pretty non-standard job on his/her own.

Configuration of software RAID. Most dedicated servers have two or more drives but no hardware RAID controller. In order to improve data security, providers recommend customers to use software RAID. It means that a control panel must support it too.

Disk formatting. Oftentimes the standard disk slicing from templates is not enough. However, more and more clients want to slice disks on their own and use custom settings. This is why such a feature must be supported by the control panel.

Why you should try DCImanager

Almost all of the features listed above are already there in DCImanager 5. If you need a control panel now, give it a try.

However, we’re going to release a new version called DCImanager 6. We took the needs of hosting providers and IT infrastructure owners into account when developing it. The process of OS and script installation is much easier and more flexible in DCImanager 6.

OS installation window in DCImanager 6

Apart from this, you will find the following features in DCImanager 6:

  1. predictive analysis of potential issues,
  2. enhanced statistics,
  3. network equipment management,
  4. SNMP equipment search.

Want to know more? Test our demo and sign up to be notified once beta testing is started. We plan to release a commercial version of DCImanager in early 2020.

Natalia Trifonova

Product manager DCImanager 6