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The concept of stages

Having one or more environments that are identical to production. It is a very common pattern because it allows processes of QA and testing that does not affect production data.

Typical stages

  • Development stage
  • Test stage
  • Pre-production stage

Different stages usually signify different levels of maturity or production-readiness. The development stage might be used for latest-and-greatest code deployed by a nightly build. The pre-production environment could be used as the final go/no-go before production.

Challenges

  • Migrating data from production into stage environment.
  • Production environment is not identical to the test environments.
  • Automatically deploying to staged environment.
  • Getting good tests and good test-data that can be executed in the testing stages.
  • Automatically advancing a deployment unit through stages with minimal overhead work (is it just the click of a button?).

Resources

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