Currently we have a vm development and vm production environment for LANDesk 7.7.1. We are considering adding a staging environment that would for most of the time be an exact replica of produciton minus the live data. When new upgrades are released we would upgrade development and test performance, features and functionality. If everything goes well we would backup prod db and restore to staging, upgrade staging to the new version, and test with live data to ensure everything functions properly. If all goes well we would move stagining to production. Our server team wants a buffer to prevent having to scramble and rebuild development because the upgrade caused some major issue. With the stagining, if we experience an issue with the upgrade, the server team could rebuild development when they have extra time becasue we still have a way to make any changes in production. Does LANDesk support this practice? Is anyone currently using this configuration?
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I use 3 sets of servers: live (current version), test (current version), and a upgrade set (newest version). Before I test a new version I copy over my production database, then I run through an upgrade noting every little thing I had to do. Generally there is very little that must be done to upgrade a server to the newest version so having a staging server doesn't save you much time. The place where the time is spent is upgrading the database and all the details you need to do after the upgrade is done. Changing servers means changing all the links and short cuts that people use so I find it easier to just keep the same production server in place. I don't find that the time savings (about 10 - 15 minutes) makes up for the other hassles.
If you need to stay up 24x7 then I could see using a new production server but then you have to deal with moving the data over while the upgrade was happening and before all the URL's get redirected. Otherwise I just don't see that it is easier.