Computer Environment

Test Environments: Why You Need Them and How to Set It Up

MAY, 2022

by Keshav Malik. 


Author Keshav Malik

This post was written by Keshav Malik. Keshav is a full-time developer who loves to build and break stuff. He is constantly on the lookout for new and interesting technologies and enjoys working with a diverse set of technologies in his spare time. He loves music and plays badminton whenever the opportunity presents itself.


Software development is a complex process that requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure that the final product is reliable and of high quality. One of the most critical aspects of this process is testing, and having a dedicated test environment is essential to guaranteeing the accuracy and functionality of software. Unfortunately, many development teams neglect to establish a dedicated test environment, leading to costly errors and delays in production. 

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In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why a dedicated test environment is crucial for software development teams and provide guidance on how to set one up effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a newcomer to the field, this article will offer valuable insights into the importance of testing and the benefits of having a dedicated test environment.


What Is a Test Environment?

Software testing needs a secure and isolated environment to run tests without influencing users’ actions. We call this environment a test or testing environment.

Essentially, you create a copy of the live system so that tests run as if they were being run in the live environment. However, because it’s a copy, you don’t put user data at risk. Thus, it’s an essential part of any software development strategy.

Most companies set up separate environments for unit testing, system integration testing, and security testing. A test environment can contain an exact copy of the live environment and a copy of a specific software release.

Reading Guide: Understanding the Types of Test Environments

What Are Characteristics of a Good Test Environment?

A good test environment has the following characteristics.

  • It’s a copy of, or very closely resembles, the live environment. This means it includes the same code, data, configuration, operating system, and functionality.
  • It functions as a sandbox. This means changes made in the test environment cannot affect the live environment.
  • It’s easy to set up.

But why are test environments so important? Let’s dig in.

Why Are Test Environments Important?

Test environments are an integral part of the development process. Even though we use testing environments to execute and verify tests, there’s much more to know.

Testing ensures that we can test applications per the requirements and we develop all our software according to specification. For every application, we can divide the testing process into two parts: automated testing and manual testing. We run automated testing to test the application without any human intervention. In contrast, for manual testing, a human tester tests the application step by step.

A testing environment allows you to test your new software releases to make sure they run smoothly before you roll them out. A virtual testing environment, in particular, protects you against any possible crashes. This lets you get on with your day-to-day tasks worry-free. It also means you can easily modify or change a testing environment without affecting the live site.

Is The Test Environment the Same As The Staging Environment?

​Do you still have questions about the distinction between test and staging environments? Allow us to clarify.

The test environment is primarily used for debugging features and does not use real data or have security checks in place. In contrast, the staging environment is a subset of the testing environment and is an internal replica of the production environment used to test or demonstrate the entire application. The staging environment employs genuine data identical to the production environment, but it is not accessible to external users.

What IT Environments Do You Need?

When it comes to software development, there are several IT environments that are typically needed to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the software. These environments include the development environment, test environment, and staging environment.

  • The development environment is where the software is built and tested by the development team. It is typically separate from the production environment to avoid any negative impact on the live system. In the development environment, developers can test new features and functionalities without risking damage to the production environment.
  • The test environment is where the software is tested to ensure it meets the requirements and specifications. This environment is usually an exact replica of the production environment and is used to simulate different scenarios and test the software thoroughly.
  • The staging environment, also known as the pre-production environment, is where the software is tested with real-world data and conditions. This environment is used to verify that the software is ready for deployment in the production environment.

Having these separate environments allows for thorough testing and ensures that any issues are caught before the software is released into the live environment. It also helps to reduce downtime and minimize the risk of user impact.

    What Are the 5 Key Elements For Creating a Test Environment?

    Creating a good test environment is essential to get quick information about the functionality of a website or application. To create a good test environment, you need to consider the following.

    1. Test environment design: Design a test environment by selecting a representative sample of the entire application or the entire application.
    2. Test environment security: The test environment must remain secure from the application under test and from the other applications.
    3. Test environment automation: Ensure that you can use the environment to automate the testing process.
    4. Test environment management: Make sure that you can use the environment long term for continual testing.
    5. Test Data: Test data is an important element that is often overlooked. It is essential to have a good quality and representative set of data to test the software thoroughly. This data should include realistic scenarios and edge cases to ensure that the software performs as expected in all situations. Additionally, it is crucial to protect the privacy and security of any sensitive data used in testing, particularly if it includes personal or confidential information.

    Common Challenges in Test Environment Management

    These days, testing environment management is a complicated and expensive process. If you want to get the most out of your testing, you must ensure that your testing environment is appropriately equipped and managed. However, that’s not always easy. Many businesses run into three common challenges that impact their testing environment.

    1. Resource Management

    One of the critical challenges for test environment management is the difficulty of managing the resources. Often a testing environment contains physical and virtual resources, and you need to manage both.

    The resources include the servers, storage, and network infrastructure. The team has to ensure that the environment is built and maintained appropriately. In addition, they must ensure that it can carry the resources forward into releases and testing.

    2. Managing Changes

    Another challenge is managing changes in the codebase. For example, as time goes on, you’ll add new resources or new versions of existing ones to the environment. When you make these changes, the team must have a way to track them and document them.

    3. Timely Feedback & Poor Communication

    Communication is the key to success, or so the saying goes. Lack of communication or collaboration between product or QA managers and  testers can lead to miss critical areas of the application or overlook key business risks.

    As testing progresses, testers may not have the opportunity to provide feedback to the project team. This can result in testers not being recognized for their work.


    In conclusion, having a dedicated test environment is crucial for software development teams to ensure that their products are reliable and bug-free. It allows developers to test their software in a controlled and safe environment, minimizing the risk of production failures. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, software development teams can establish a successful test environment that meets their specific needs. Furthermore, automating the testing process can help improve efficiency and reduce errors. Ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the test environment are also necessary to ensure that it continues to provide value and effectiveness over time. Ultimately, investing in a dedicated test environment can save time, money, and resources while improving software quality and end-user satisfaction.

    Other TEM Reading

    Interested in reading more about Test Environment Management. Why not start here:

    Enov8 Blog: TEM Explained

    Enov8 Blog: Your Essential Test Environment Management Checklist

    Enov8 Blog: What makes a good Test Environment Manager



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