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The Black Hole Between Environments

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The Black Hole Between Environments


By Sander Stevens, TechTest 

 

Please note: this was automatically translated using Google translate, you can see the original article in Dutch at http://blog.techtest.nl/2010/01/het-zwarte-gat.html

As test professionals we always like to say: make sure your organization is as good a DTAP Street as available, because you obviously do not want problems coming your way. The delivery process means that development is on a separate system, then moves to the test environment, for system and integration tests, then to the acceptance environment for acceptance testing and eventually to an authentic production environment. And we like to say, make sure that you approve a production-like machine! 

I want to share the following example (from a real recent situation), that I think you’ll find to be very recognizable.

We had completed all testing on our project. Functionally, the software was "stitched". All issues were resolved or passed on to the next releases. There were no showstoppers and we had a GO from the go/NoGo consultation. (Please note: The Acceptance Testing was not on the production environment!) One day before going live in the new production environment, we quickly performed a test and tried to upload a video (the most important functionality in any system!).

After a search, the department discovered that the video technology platform on the production environment was a higher version than on the acceptance environment. It turned out that the system (a website) was built based on an incorrect version of the video platform. 

Fortunately it was a small fix and the problem was quickly solved, but we only had a week till the final release. This, combined with the extra hours of development, testing, engineering, etc turned this into a costly mistake. 

Should the test team have checked the version numbers? Should the technology department have given approval while in the acceptance environment while not aware what production was like? Even if we had known at first, then maybe there would be something else that was different between the two environments. 

Recently I saw the light! :-)

I discovered a tool for mapping the differences between environments, Evolven Comparison. It compares drives, configurations, settings, versions, etc. web services, databases, applications, operating systems and more.

And that is at an early stage! All data in a certain environment can be read at a later stage and compared to a different environment. Evolven Comparison shows what the differences are, whether these differences are critical and which corner area these differences affect (performance, functionality, usability, etc). 

For out situation, before software is installed on the acceptance environment, we could check to verify it is a production-like environment. If not, we do not accept. Suddenly we have a big stick. 

I was very impressed with the possibilities! Finally a tool for the black hole between two environments! It provides us with insight into the changes and differences between environments.


More about Sander Stevens blog_sandersSander Stevens is the founder of TechTest. Since 1997, he has worked in software testing and quality assurance. He has extensive experience in managing complex testing processes and improving test processes within different organizations.

Sander started as a test automation engineer at Seagull Software in Dordrecht. There he worked seven years and held all roles within the software testing. In 2004 Sander founded the company, TechTest, and now works as a consultant, manager and instructor for various organizations in various industries.

He offers his knowledge and experience to share with beginning test professionals, and develops training. These differ from the commercially available training, by combining theory and practice. The training is tangible, practical and applicable.

Website: http://www.techtest.nl/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sanderstevens

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