Our infrastructure team has created a lab environment that is physically segregated from our production network. This has some advantages I'd like to share:
- Installation of the product can be done, and redone, as needed to ensure the process is understood and the requirements are fleshed out. While CA may provide physical requirements for the product, there are many options around how to set up authentication and authorization, among other options, that can be tried without risk.
- The lab provides an opportunity to learn about how the management server works with the execution servers and agents. This allows us to experiment with various high availability configurations without continually modifying our production environment.
- Working within Release Automation in the lab allows us to experiment with new process ideas, usage of new actions, creation of custom actions, and anything else we can think of while keeping production clean.
- Integrations can be thoroughly vetted before attempting them in production.
- As we eventually realize the need for product upgrades, the lab will provide a place to run through the upgrade process and verify it's success before applying the upgrade to production.
Once we are comfortable with our understanding of Release Automation, we will be installing it into our production environment in preparation for CA's arrival for implementation services.
Do any of you also use a lab environment? Have you discovered other benefits of this approach?