Deploying Linchpin internally including preparation for a launch party
I understand your problem. When we offer hosting packages for our Linchpin customers we always encourage to have a test system for trying out stuff.
Disguised pricing as it may change. Please find it here.
Creating test instances is a well known and good practice to make sure, that you do not “disturb” your existing users. The reason for a test system is usually that deploying new features make break stuff temporarily. Doing this in a production instance is often referred to as open heart surgery. This is risky and only done in very seldom and urgent cases.
A test system usually is a snapshot of your production instance. In most IT environments (especially with virtualization) this is pretty easy to do. You’ll have the same data, but a different instance that no one but the project team uses. All configuration, design work and changes are made there. Then, when everything is ready, the content is once again migrated into this test system - while the production system is halted. The updated test system could become the new production system. Or you just perform the very same configuration in the production system. Also possible.
This is what we see most often. This however requires intense help of your internal IT and some of their resources to help you along the way. A lot of intranet teams do not have this IT support in the very beginning. Then we recommend, that you create yourself your own Linchpin demo instance (e.g. yourcompany.linchpin-intranet.com) and contact us to prolong the hosting until you’re ready. If you want to get rid of our test data, you can also start from scratch by generating a Atlassian Confluence instance with our automated Atlassian hosting service SWIFT. None of these need licenses fees as long as you are evaluating. For test servers Atlassian will provide test server licenses for free as long as you have a valid license for the production system. Our Do-it-yourself documentation on Linchpin can help you go this route. Please also note, that we have a full documentation of how a project should be deployed. Unfortunately we did not integrate the fun stuff like a “launch party” yet.
I hope that this helps. If not, please feel free to reach out.