2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 2, 2014 8:03 PM by brad

    Recommendation on process for creating Test environment?

    brad Pioneer

      Hi guys,


      I'm in the early stages of planning creation of a Test Pharos environment (assuming I can convince the powers-that-be to "give" me a server to use) - we've managed to hobble along without one up to this point in time, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to justify NOT having a Test environment, when dealing with a public-facing system in a Local Government arena.


      At present, our Prod system consists of 2 VM servers - one for the application, the other with the database, CMSIP server, license server, etc. We are currently running Uniprint 8.2.6005. My understanding is, the two-server configuration was chosen for performance/capacity reasons.


      At this point in time, utilising some assumptions I've made at this point in time (am doing some reading to try and prove/disprove these assumptions), I am expecting/hoping to be able to configure the system onto a single VM box.

      My expectation is that there would only be a relatively small number of clients connecting to the Test system (primarily because our clients are at multiple off-site locations, locked down quite severely, and also "secured" using DeepFreeze - and therefore difficult to point to an alternative server) at a time, and likely only one, possibly 2 printers.


      Unfortunately, this pretty much (I think) stops us from using a clone of the current server as the basis for the new one, as the config is completely different. Bummer.


      So, I'm thinking that, from a testing perspective, we'd be best off replicating our Production system as close as possible on test - aside from the obvious difference of location of services/database - so thatwe can also then go through the upgrade process on the box to see how it works out. Obviously not a perfect test, because having the database on a separate box could cause issues during the upgrade, but I don't think I could justify the expense of a second server just for that reason.


      With regard to our current database in Prod - what would be the best way of getting this into the Test environment? Create the new setup with a blank database to get the structure etc. configured, and then import a backup from Prod over the top of it?


      Anything else I should consider? Any recommendations/suggestions, etc appreciated




        • Re: Recommendation on process for creating Test environment?
          andrew Tracker

          Obviously, YMMV, and I am unclear on the precise intention of the test environment. My assumption is you want to install and "check out" a new version of Pharos before rolling it out, as opposed to doing capacity testing.

          Since you are already in a virtual environment it should be pretty simple. If I assume your virtual machines are on VMWare with vCenter, right click the current server, clone, attach the clone to a private (host only) network, along with a client for testing, and then proceed as normal.It's not quite that easy, I'm sure, but it should be pretty close.


          As far as consolidating to single vm server:

          best practices will always require the database server be isolated from web and/or other services. That does not mean you cannot do it, but that it is considered "less secure" and/or "not recommended".

          As far as capacity reasons for multiple servers: I should think that if you post up some numbers, perhaps others here could offer comparison numbers. For example, we are running 10 printers and 12 MFDs, about 800 client machines, at about 55k printed sheets per quarter on a single-server system with no capacity problems to the best of my knowledge. We are on Uniprint 8.2, so no web-print, mobile[print, or other web services except EDI.

            • Re: Recommendation on process for creating Test environment?
              brad Pioneer

              Hi Andrew,


              Thanks for the response. You are correct, regarding the intent of the Test environment - we're a local Government, supporting multiple library sites with public-facing PCs (similar kind of numbers to what you mention in your post, actually). For some reason, the ratepayers tend to get antsy if access to their free internet service is affected in any way, shape or form (we regularly get complaints that 3 minutes of their 1 hour of free time is taken up by the startup/login process... I kid you not)

              The reason behind the Test server is two-fold - to test the upgrade process from our current environment to a newer version(s), and to test any config changes prior to them being pushed into production. We're an ITIL site, so I'm trying to drag Libraries kicking and screaming into line with our Change processes.

              With regard to security - the system will be isolated from anything external by firewall, and the only things connecting to it will be myself, and perhaps my off-sider, using a couple of test client machines we have in our area, from on the same network.

              Reading back over my original post, I see that I wasn't very clear about one thing - when I said that "I am expecting/hoping to be able to configure the system onto a single VM box." - the system I was referring to is the Test system, not our current Prod one. That's not changing.

              With regard to the "how to" for building the Test server (for database migration etc.), I think I might log a call for that, and see what I get back.