A common recommendation we have when designing Enterprise Content Management systems is the use of multiple environments. I am referring the use of Development, Test, and/or QA environments to complement a Production environment. There are many advantages to deploying systems with multiple environments, and I would like to discuss the role of multiple environments and the advantages to implementing them for your ECM system.
Depending on the size and complexity of the solution different supporting environments are recommended. For, example with a smaller departmental level solution with little or no custom development, it is common to only recommend one supporting environment used for development and testing. Now let’s take another example where a customer has an enterprise level ECM system with custom development and a requirement for minimal system downtime. The following is a common layout for this type of system:
- Development Environment – Used for custom development and preparation for testing changes to the ECM system. This environment is usually much smaller than the Production Environment and is commonly running on virtual servers/machines.
- Test Environment – Used for end to end testing of changes to the system. Changes are certified in this environment prior to moving to the QA or Production. This environment is usually smaller than Production, but it is imperative that the functionality is consistent to ensure proper testing and certification of the changes.
- Quality Assurance Environment – This environment serves a couple of purposes and it closely mirrors the architecture of the Production Environment. Performance load testing and client acceptance are performed in this environment. In some instances, this environment can also serve as a disaster recovery environment in the event of a Production outage.
- Production Environment – Used for the ECM Production System.
This environment configuration is representative of a common layout for multiple environments, but depending on the organization and solution it can vary. The ECM solution architects play a valuable role in recommending the optimal configuration. At ImageSource, we have extensive knowledge and experience with ECM architecture and take a great deal of pride in designing the correct layout for the customer and the solution.