Provisioning a Fresh Server Install

Once a machine has settled in to a rack how long does it take you to turn it in to a working server?

How many of these steps are automated? The longer you can go without making manual changes the more comfortable you can be that the machine’s running as it’s supposed to be.

What little tweaks do people make once the machine is up? How do you know they’ve been done correctly on each machine? Do you have a small bundle of configuration checks for local modifications? What happens if they get nuked? Do you notice or do they just drift further out of sync with the baseline deployment (and each other)? Do you use an integrity checker on all machines looking for unauthorised changes?

How long does the complete process take from start to finish? How does this fit in with your MTTR numbers? If it takes an hour to build a server and you’ve got a MTTR of 30 minutes on a critical mail server then you’ve got problems.

Do you need to manually add new machines to other, external, systems and/or processes? Nagios for monitoring? DNS? Documentation on your intranet? How do you keep these in sync and how often are they audited?

Why is it not as easy as just plugging the thing in anymore :)