Test Environment Management Explained

3

JUNE, 2022

by Erik Dietrich, Ukpai Ugochi, and Jane Temov. Modified by Eric Goebelbecker

Most companies spend between 45%-55% of their IT budget on non-production activities like  Training, Development & Testing and lose 20-40% of productivity across their software testing and software development lifecycle. This is because the art of “Test Environment Management” (or TEM) is still an area of significant confusion.

The Enov8 Test Environment Use Case

 

Definition of TEM

In the hope of educating and raising the bar on Test Environment Management, here’s a quick overview of “IT & Test Environment Best Practices” from Enov8.

Definition: IT & Test Environments Management is the act of understanding your production environment and cross-life-cycle test environments. It includes establishing controls to ensure your teams use them effectively and rapidly, service, provision, and delete them on time.

The Key Test Environment Management Activities You Should Consider:

Knowledge Management / Modelling

Know What Your IT & Test Environments Looks Like

Start with the process of modeling your Production Environment and Testing Environment. Including key configuration items like environment groups, systems, environment instances, components, microservices, relationships, and test data. It’s essential if we are to understand our platforms and end-to-end architecture truly.

Visualization and awareness contribute to better decision-making, servicing, and troubleshooting of our testing environment and help us better understand and support our production environment.

Testing Environments Planning & Coordination

Plan & Coordinate Test Environment Activity

The Test Environments Management process is responsible for managing and proactively scheduling test environment activities.

Use calendaring to coordinate operations across your test environments and ensure that you complete your testing environment preparation tasks in a timely and organized manner.

Tip: Attach the use of implementation plans for more complex events. For example, create a ‘deployment implementation plan.’ 

Demand Management

Capture Demand Across Your Testing Environments

Development and software testing teams need access to specific test environments throughout the software development process. To avoid conflict and optimize the use of company resources, it is important to have a system in place that captures and manages demand for test environments. This is where test environment booking management comes in.

Test environment booking management is a system that records the date, time, and duration of each team’s requested use of a test environment. You can use this information to schedule and allocate resources accordingly.

Streamline via Standardised Operations

Keep Test Environments Preparation Repeatable

Use test environment runsheets and implementation plans to coordinate TEM operations and ensure test environment preparation tasks are completed in a timely and organized manner. Timely environments contribute to more software development and software testing time.

Tip: Employ this approach across all your Testing Environment tiers, i.e., Infrastructure, Applications, and Test Data. And across the lifecycle, i.e., the Software Development Environment, Test Environments like your Integration Testing Environment, Staging Environment, Performance Testing Environment, and of course, your Production Environments.

Streamline via Environment Automation

Streamline Your Test Environments Preparation Through the Use of Automation

Invest in the orchestration (aka scripting) for key Test Environment tasks like Deployment Provisioning, Rollback, Decommissioning, and Test Bed Health checks.

Tip: If it takes more than an hour to prepare a test environment, there’s something wrong. Perhaps it is time to review your approach.

Optimize Through Insights

Value Stream Through Environment Status Accounting & Reporting

Drive continuous improvement through up-to-date insights on test environment behavior.

Use real-time data feeds and dashboards to better understand your environment footprint, test environment usage, systems availability, and the various system teams’ service capability.

Watch Our TEM Video to Learn More:

 

To Summarize

Test environment management is a complex process that requires careful planning and coordination. Using automation and standardized operations can streamline the process and make it more efficient. Additionally, you can optimize your resources and ensure that your test environments are running smoothly by keeping track of demand and usage.

Next Steps

Why not use the Enov8 Maturity Index to better understand your current capability. A great tool that you can use independently, or as part of a team.

Find that Return on Investment (ROI). Use Test Environments Management to drive “productivity up” across your IT Operations, Projects, Development & Testing and conversely, drive “IT cost down” across your Infrastructure, License & Support Spend.

Are you looking for an IT & Testing Environment Management Tool? Why not check out Enov8 Environment Manager. Enov8 Test Environment Manager is an out-of-the-box TEM solution providing you with a portal to model your test lanes, systems, and components, plan, and control events automate operations, and deliver real-time reporting and metrics.

Post Author

This post was originally written by Erik Dietrich, Ukpai Ugochi, and Jane Temov. Modified for re-publication by Eric Goebelbecker.

Erik Dietrich Erik is a veteran of the software world and has occupied just about every position in it: developer, architect, manager, CIO, and, eventually, independent management and strategy consultant.  This breadth of experience has allowed him to speak to all industry personas and to write several books and countless blog posts on dozens of sites. 

Ukpai Ugochi Ukpai is a full stack JavaScript developer (MEVN), and she contributes to FOSS in her free time. She loves to share knowledge about her transition from marine engineering to software development to encourage people who love software development and don’t know where to begin.

Jane Temov Jane is an experienced IT Environments Management & Resilience Evangelist. Areas of specialism include IT & Test Environment Management, Disaster Recovery, Release Management, Service Resilience, Configuration Management, DevOps &Infra/Cloud Migration. 


Eric Goebelbecker Eric has worked in the financial markets in New York City for 25 years, developing infrastructure for market data and financial information exchange (FIX) protocol networks. He loves to talk about what makes teams effective (or not so effective!).

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