Artifact: Test Environment Configuration
This work product specifies an arrangement of hardware, software, and associated environment settings that are required to enable accurate tests to be conducted that will evaluate one or more target test items.
Domains: Test
Work Product Kinds: Infrastructure

To help  assure that:

  • The results of testing activities are accurate and valid,
  • Testing activities have a higher likelihood of being systematically reproduced
Main Description

Each Test Environment Configuration specifies an appropriate, controlled setting in which to conduct the required test and evaluation activities. Providing a controlled environment built from a known configuration in which to conduct these activities, helps to assure the results of these efforts are accurate, valid, and have a higher likelihood of being systematically reproduced. A well-controlled Test Environment is an important aspect of efficient failure analysis and fault resolution.

Brief Outline

Each Test Environment Configuration should consider various aspects including the following:

  • The basic computer hardware requirements; for example, Processors, Memory Storage, Hard-disk Storage, Input/Output Interface Devices
  • The basic underlying software environment; for example, Operating System and the basic productivity tools such as e-mail, calendar system, and so forth
  • Additional specialized Input/Output peripheral hardware; for example, Bar-code scanners, receipt printers, cash draws, sensor devices, and so on
  • The required software for the specialized Input/Output peripheral hardware; for example, drivers, interface and gateway software
  • The minimal set of software tools necessary to facilitate test, evaluation, and diagnostic activities; for example, memory diagnostics, automated test execution, and so forth
  • The required configuration settings of both hardware and software options; for example, video-display resolution, resource allocation, environment variables, and so on
  • The required "pre-existing" consumables; for example, populated data sets, receipt printer dockets, and the like
Representation Options

Where possible, attempt to keep the total number of unique Test Environment Configurations to a minimum and to a  manageable level. This can be achieved by consolidating similar environments, typically where similar base-hardware and software profiles are used with only minor differences existing in the configuration settings. However, be careful not to consolidate Test Environment Configurations to the point of invalidating the integrity and purpose of each configuration.

We recommend the use of hard-disk imaging tools that allow Test Environment Configurations to be backed-up and easily restored. Also consider using removable or swappable hard drives to further improve accuracy and efficiency.

Optionally the Test Environment Configuration can be enclosed within the Software Development Plan