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  1. #1
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    Setting up a test lab

    Hello,

    I am looking for some tips on setting up a test lab. Most of our applications are internet based. Any articles, links would be helpful.

    Thanks

    Sam


  2. #2
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    Re: Setting up a test lab

    The following is a previous post by Jeff Nyman.

    "A good book you may want to check out on this is "Managing the Testing Process" by Rex Black. It has a chapter on setting up a lab. It is more generalized for different settings and does not concentrate on the Web but it might give you some ideas.

    For the basic Web, you are ideally going to want to have the major Windows versions at least that ship as OEMs and are in wider distribution - Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, and Windows 2000. You should ideally have enough to have different versions of Internet Explorer on each if that is a major testing effort for you. Such as:

    Win2000: IE 4.0
    Win2000: IE 5.0
    Win98SE: IE 4.0
    Win98SE: IE 5.0
    WinME: IE 4.0
    WinME: IE 5.0

    If you have a user base that is still very much on IE 3.0 or you know you are using a lot of technologies that might not appear well on it (such as CSS tags) you may want to consider having 3.0 as well. With Netscape you have a little more leniency because you can install multiple versions but keep in mind that the same Navigator (4.08) exists behind many of the Communicator versions. Netscape 6.0, of course, is different. Also keep in mind that Netscape can sometimes clobber itself in the registry.

    Specific details, however, depend on what you are going to be doing. For browser emulation you can sometimes use tools to help with that or the Delorie Web site that helps you parse out what a file will look like. So you have to determine how many browsers you need to support and how many you want on standalones. (Some people refuse to consider it good testing to place more than one Netscape on a machine but I think this view is a little extreme.)

    Keep in mind that you can get by with less by partitioning machines. I use Partition Magic (from PowerQuest) to non-destructively partition machines and System Commander (from V-Communications) as my boot loader. I can then have one machine (assuming a suitably sized hard drive) have Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, and Windows 2000. You can also make a partition for Linux, BeOS, etc. if need be.

    If you are going to be doing performance testing, you are going to want to consider a fairly heavy-duty performance testing box with enough memory to handle a great deal of virtual users. (At two places I have been now I have had them get me machines with 1 GB of onboard RAM for my performance controller machine.)

    As to ghosting, I ususally insist on this ability. This is particularly important when you have client applications that you need to install (thus you want a clean registry) or you want to just have a machine from scratch. An alternative is making sure you are given full control over your test machines (i.e., do not rely on CIS, MIS, CRC, etc.) and have the installer disks/CDs so you can re-setup the machine as you need to. (I prefer ghosting because, as I said, I setup partitions and doing that each time gets to be a pain.)

    If you cannot get ghosting or installation CDs, complain and complain loudly. An alternative you can use (temporarily until you get your way) is to use something like CleanSweep when you install things so you can more easily assure a full uninstallation when you want to get things as back to normal as possible.

    For the Web what I try to have is, at the very least, three machines for each major IE version. Each of these three is partitioned as I mentioned above and each of the three has a particular version of IE for each of the OSs in the partitions. (I then use Netscape versions on each of the machines.)"

    Thanks Jeff.
    -- Mike --

  3. #3
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    Re: Setting up a test lab

    .... and that is just the client setup.

    You also should have decent machines for the software/server under test. In an ideal world, you would have the same hardware that the production world would be using... well at least to conduct true performance/load testing.

    To save money, a lot of companies give you lower quality machines to use. While this may be "good enough" to see how the software behaves, it doesn't give you a clear idea on how the system behaves under significant load.. ie Trying to order concert tickets to U2 right after they go on sale.

    also take a look at the network configuration. If there are private segments in production, you may want to put up a private segment in the lab as well.

    so taking a look at your server hardware setup should also be a part of the test lab as well.
    It Depends.

  4. #4
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    Re: Setting up a test lab

    In which case a book like "Scaling for E-Business, Technologies,Models, and Capacity Planning" would be an excellant book to read.
    -- Mike --

 

 

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