Right sizing the QA environment

Although clearly embarrassing for Canada Bell the QA and User Acceptance environment for their Solo discount ad campaign did not match (i.e. literally reflect in scale) the production environment. This is something that happens in IT too, a lot more often than it should. I have come across a number of banking system implementation projects over the years that do not QA on an environment reflecting production. These are simple things to get right:

  • Use the same network load balancers
  • Use the same cluster configuration
  • Use the same data

The latter criterion obviously requires a lot of effort, particularly when implementing new functionality. High volumes of data and concurrent users is not just for PSR testing! It is an over simplification, but PSR is there to tell you about capacity not quality.

Thankfully, most of the banks (big and small) I have worked with have put in place a ‘pre production’ environment which allows you to work with a copy of real data which may only be a week or two old. To not do so is really naive and in the long run is asking for trouble. It’s worth the effort to find issues with quality before your customers tell you about it when they come in to close their accounts.