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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
If you’re an infrastructure person there are all kinds of business drivers and company schemes that mean you are often getting mad-cap requests** for changes to your nice, stable, secure infrastructure that lets everyone get on with their job and not have to worry about it.
Not all of them make sense, hopefully most of them are worthwhile but they all need to be done NOW!.
Now, as much as they would like you to, you’re unlikely to give John Doe, head of marketing full access to install complicated software like Microsoft Symantec CA WizzBang Enterprise v666sp4 into your production environment without some kind of testing.
Herein lies the problem, you need to install it to check it out, run it against your standard configs, builds, apps etc. and achieve a reasonable level of confidence that the moment you click setup.exe it won’t be a case of not seeing your family again for a long time as servers and networks come crashing down around your ears.
The traditional approach to doing this, and I say traditional as this is what I’ve seen MSCS and all the big consultancy orgs and vendors recommending. Is to get a bunch of servers install the OS and the new app and see what happens.
This has a number of problems in my eyes.
It’s a vanilla/fresh install, it doesn’t have all the upgrades, patches, badly uninstalled apps, lurking data corruption issues that your production hosts have been exposed to.
Change control – great you’ve got it, and everyone has been on the ITIL courses but there is ALWAYS deviation from standard config.
I’ve yet to see any installation that looks exactly like the CMDB says it should, It’s both a management and a technical issue;
I’m not advocating spending so much time testing that the change you wanted to implement is out of date by the time you’ve finished; you’ll never catch everything but within this group of posts I’m hoping to propose a more pragmatic approach using copies of real systems and real data rather than just making some up and hoping for the best.
it’s always easier to install something in a clean environment than in an existing one.
*are you new here?
**For example; “Hi, are you the computer people? We’ve decided to re-brand the company this week and we need to change the Active Directory domain name thing to wizzynewcorpname.net, oh yeah and we need it doing at 1pm tomorrow in-line with the press release, thanks <click>” (yep, that’s a real example!)
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