3.16 Lab Testing and Validation

One of the key parts of the design phase is the testing and validation that is done in the organization’s lab environment, prior to any deployment being completed. This is your opportunity to do the following:

  • Prove that the design and design decisions you made are accurate and correct, and meet the very specific requirements of the organization.

  • Verify that software components are functioning properly, and that users are receiving the results that they should expect.

  • Prove that the deployment will be successful.

The organization should use the lab to develop acceptance tests that are run by the project team and tracked for completion and success. The best way to do this is to document individual acceptance tests (a simple spreadsheet can be used if you want), and complete the tests according to the steps you need to take. After the individual tests have been run successfully and validated (proven successful), you can document this and move on until all tests have been completed.

If individual tests are unsuccessful, you need to make changes (this could also include your design), and run the test until it is successfully completed.

The idea is not to create more work for you, but to prove the overall design quality and increase the probability of a successful ZENworks deployment.

Your lab environment must reflect your existing infrastructure as closely as possible, and the ZENworks infrastructure in the lab must accurately reflect the design that you are creating.

The lab should contain a real world layout (design) to ensure that the ZENworks design fits well within the existing environment. You need to include the following:

  • Design of directory services infrastructures, including eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory: If you can, replicate the directory services in the lab to ensure that the lab environment is isolated from the actual production systems. You may want to avoid causing issues with the endpoints on the production network due to the testing in the lab.

  • Major network infrastructure components that need to be tested: This includes a replica of the main data center layouts, and the major classifications of remote sites that need to be tested for Satellite distributions and collections.

  • Exact replica of the ZENworks infrastructure design that you are creating: This needs to be kept up-to-date. If any changes are made to the design, you need to immediately reflect these changes in the lab environment.

  • You should test actual packages, content, collection, and so forth, and this needs to reflect the decisions made in the design phase. For example, you should test inventory collection based on the decisions you have made for inventory collection schedules. This is also true for all major components of ZENworks that are being deployed.

  • You should perform all endpoint testing with actual base images that are being used in production. This includes a sample set of the actual line-of-business applications and custom OS configurations.

It is beneficial to have a sample set of departmental devices to use here. For example, use a typical workstation you would find in Accounting, Human Resources, Engineering, IT, and so forth.

When building your lab, you do not need to build the entire lab with physical hardware. You are not testing the breaking point here. You are testing functionality and whether or not there are any major issues found with the overall design. You should use actual production hardware to test functionality at the device level, but the server infrastructure could be virtualized to save hardware costs. The idea is to reflect the design so you can prove that it is solid.