Introducing the IgniteNet "Virtual Private Cloud"

What is it?

The "Virtual Private Cloud" (VPC) annual plan is the newest IgniteNet Cloud plan offering, which allows cloud owners to fully customize the style and branding of their IgniteNet Cloud.

Why choose VPC?

VPC is a beneficial feature for certain Cloud users, like MSPs (Managed Service Providers), for a few reasons:

  • A VPC cloud encourages customer stickiness, and
  • A VPC cloud allows the VPC cloud owner to maintain a unified brand image

For example, let's say an MSP by the name of "MSP Services, Inc" is currently managing the wireless installations of 10 hotels in a small hotel chain. This MSP has chosen to go with the IgniteNet solution, due to the affordability of the hardware and cloud solution.

The administrators of this hotel chain have asked the MSP to grant them read-only visibility in to their wifi network, so they can see how many guests are using the wifi, troubleshoot any AP issues when calls are received at the front desk, etc...

As requested, the MSP logs in to their IgniteNet cloud and invites the hotel admins as read-only guests for the sites that represent their hotels.

After registering and logging in, the hotel owner learns that the IgniteNet cloud is the solution being used by the MSP, and upon reading more about IgniteNet's ultra-affordable pricing, decides to go direct with IgniteNet, canceling the service contract with the MSP.

If the MSP had had an option of replacing the IgniteNet branding with "MSP Services, Inc" branding, they would have avoided this scenario all together!

Setting up your VPC cloud

Next, let's talk about how quick and easy the VPC setup process is.

  • Step 1) First, login to your cloud, and navigate to the Licenses & Billing page from the cloud-level menu on the left.

  • Step 2) Click the "Change plan" link under the "Your Cloud Plan" header. Note: you must be an owner, or a cloud admin with license and billing management rights to view this page.

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  • Step 3) Click the "Upgrade" button under the "Virtual Private Cloud" plan:
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  • Step 4) Pay for your plan upgrade using a credit card or voucher code. A voucher code can be obtained from our sales team if you wish to pay the cloud fee with a bank wire or other form of payment. You might also notice that the default color scheme immediately changes from the IgniteNet defaults once your payment is confirmed.
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  • Step 5) Once confirmed, you'll see a new "Virtual Private Cloud" menu option show up on the left, and a confirmation page like in the screenshot above. Click on the new menu item, or the "Configure my VPC" button from the confirmation page to continue.
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  • Step 6) We'll start configuring this VPC by entering in our company info. We're going to continue with our fictional (and redundantly-named) customer, "MSP Services, Inc".
    • Company: This field will replace IgniteNet in all major titles and labels in the cloud UI (such as the login page).
    • Website: This field should contain the URL to your company's main landing site. Clicking on the logo in the header or on the login page will take a user to your website.
    • Contact Email: This is the email address that users currently use to contact your company if they have problems. This email will be included in the footer of many emails and other communications to the end user.
    • Email From Address: This is the email address that will show up as the sender on cloud-related alerts and notifications. (Example: no-reply@companyname.com)
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  • Step 7) Now we're going to choose how we want our domain to be setup. There are two options:

    • Standard domain (simpler option): If you don't care about your VPC running under your own domain, you can choose this option. Your VPC cloud will always be accessible as a subdomain of this secured generic domain, even if you've enabled a custom domain as well. This option does not require any advanced setup of SSL or DNS records.

    • Custom domain (more advanced option): If you prefer a fully custom virtual cloud URL (such as http://cloud.msp-services-4u.com), you would enter the URL here. You will need to manually setup DNS records and work with our support team for installation of SSL certificates.

    We're going to choose the simpler standard domain option for this example because we're okay with accessing our cloud at https://msp-svc.manage-my.cloud/:

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  • Step 8) The next thing were going to do is upload the company logos and a favicon for MSP Services, Inc. These will show up on emails, on the cloud login page, and in the cloud UI header.
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  • Step 9) Finally, we're going to modify the stylesheet used by the IgniteNet cloud so that the colors match the MSP Services logo.

    Here's how to do this - first, remove the current style sheet that's in use now by pressing the red "REMOVE" button.

    Then download the sample CSS file by clicking the "Sample Download" link, edit it locally (continue reading for CSS examples), and upload it back to your VPC cloud by clicking the blue "CHOOSE FILE" button:

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In our example, we've made some slight modifications to the top navigation bar background color in the downloaded CSS:

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And altered the cloud menu color to match our logo:

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  • Step 10) After uploading the new CSS file, scroll up to the top of the page to save changes.
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You'll be redirected to your new domain once you leave the VPC configuration page. The first time this happens, you'll be asked to login again, due to session differences.

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At this point we notice that the login background looks too much like IgniteNet's, and that the colors don't match our theme. So let's log back in, navigate to the VPC configuration page, and make a few more modifications:

We get rid of the background image, add a gradient, and upload the CSS again. (We also skipped the step here that changes the color of the button, but it's pretty straightforward).

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And now the login screen looks like it belongs to MSP Services! You can continue to customize the css as much as you want, but for this example, we're done!

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Here's an example of what a dashboard view looks like:

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And customized emails:

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CSS too scary?

In the future we will allow you to choose from a set of predefined color palettes if you aren't a huge fan of editing CSS styles.

Other VPC-related Notes

  • User invitations
    Your VPC cloud users must be invited to your cloud - there is no open signup option.
  • Product branding
    If you have multiple IgniteNet clouds, you'll still be able to switch between them the same way you do today. If you switch between a VPC cloud and a normal cloud, you'll get redirected back to the IgniteNet domain. If a user has only one membership in a VPC cloud, they will not see the "Clouds" menu at the top of the page, and will not be able to create their own cloud from your custom domain.
  • Sessions and logins
    Switching in between VPC and non-VPC clouds will require you to log in again. You can select the "remember me" box on the login form in order to make switching clouds faster in the future.
  • New permissions
    Once you upgrade to the VPC plan, you'll see a new administrator permissions called "Manage VPC settings". Assign this to any users who should have access to the VPC configuration page.

Pricing

Pricing for an annual VPC license starts at $5000.00 USD per cloud. Custom firmware and web UI branding is also available for an additional fee. Please contact info@ignitenet.com if this is a requirement for your project.

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