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Preparing for on-premises software installation

If you decided to host your project management or any other software on-premises, you should be prepared as it is not as easy as going with a hosted version where you would usually just need internet access to get started.

We put together a short guide about what to prepare and consider when you want to self-host your software.

Please be aware that every on-premises software has got different requirements but the overall preparation necessary is the same.

Specification

Before jumping straight into implementation, you should go a step back and check if you have done a detailed specification from which you can now start your planning. Thereby, make sure that you have answered the following questions:

  • How many users are going to work with the software?
  • What amount of data do you estimate to be used?
  • What are the hardware requirements?
  • How quickly can you scale the storage capacity with growing user or data growth?
  • What is the required performance/speed?
  • How often are upgrades and backups required
  • What operating system are you using?

Skilled team

You need a dedicated IT team to carry out all the technical tasks. Setting up, installing, running, updating and maintaining the server and software requires manpower and the relevant skills. Check if your existing team can spend some spare capacity on the new software or if you need to set up a new team. Database administrators and analysts, systems administrators, systems engineers, network engineers and security specialists will be part of this team.

Hardware

In terms of hardware, you should assess what the software requires in terms of CPU, memory and storage. Do you already have hardware available that fulfils the specs or do you need to add on?

Operating system

Make sure you know on which operating system the desired software can be run and that you are using the matching operating system. Especially for a package-based installation your operating system must support the software’s requirements.

Installation

Plan for someone to do the installation of the software and check the recommended way of installing it as well. If you are using a non-recommended installation, you might not get support if you are running into technical issues. Once you decided for an installation set up, you will get more information regarding its requirements. The requirements depend on the installation type, e.g. docker-based or using your Linux distribution (make sure you decide which Linux distribution to use and respective package manager, e.g. apt,yum) or others (e.g. Univention Corporate Server). For packages, for instance, you need to make sure that the necessary software repositories are enabled (such as EPEL on CentOS) and that the server has access to the internet to download the dependencies. When using docker you generally only need to ensure access to the docker repository.

Network

Consider the network environment when you plan your system to verify it meets or exceeds the minimum requirements. In order to calculate the bandwidth, do not calculate it by multiplying the number of users by the minimum bandwidth requirements. To be accurate, rather perform a real-life simulation against a non-production environment.

Maintenance

An essential part of an on-premises solution to consider and plan is its regular maintenance.

Upgrades

Make sure your team is available to perform regular upgrades and updates, provided by the software vendor. These can include security patches as well as new features and bug fixes and are thus relevant to be performed in a timely manner.

Back-ups

You most likely chose the on-premises installation to guarantee high data privacy and information security. To support this, make a plan for regular back-ups to being able to recover your data in case of any unforeseen technical faults or incidents.

Downtime

At the same time, you also need to make sure to have your team available to solve any other technical issues or downtime. With your on-premises installation you are responsible that the system is up and running and the users can access it without delays.

Scaling

If you are adding users or if more data is handled by the software, you will need more CPUs and more RAM and eventually more web workers and background workers. And your database will need additional resources, too. Hence, at some point you will need to make changes to your database configuration. Either be prepared at any time to add on to your existing resources or make sure you have a good planning system in place that will give you enough notice in advance when to add on capacity.

Technical support

Last but not least, the software users will require support. Check that your technical team is reachable and agree on their availability, contact mode as well as response time so that users know what to expect.

This is a general guide on how to prepare for your on-premises software installation. Find out how easy it is to install OpenProject on-premises.

OpenProject comes in two different on-premises versions. The Community edition is free of charge and covers a wide range of features. The Enterprise on-premises edition offers you professional support and additional premium and security features for your self-hosted OpenProject.