Douglas Muth on 26 Jan 2012 06:38:40 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] dev vs production environments

On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 5:22 PM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
> I'm having a problem at work convincing some developers that the dev and
> testing environments should match production as close as possible. Since
> this is all Linux stuff, and we have machines and virtualization, this seems
> like it should be a no-brainer to me.  In fact, this is so blindingly
> obvious that I'm having trouble making a stronger argument for this than
> "because it's so blindingly obvious."

I agree.  It blows my mind that people wouldn't want their machines as
close to identical as possible.

I use 2 approaches at $WORK that I haven't seen mentioned in this thread:

1) Amazon web services.  It is stupidly easy to make disk images of
machines and database instances while those instances are running.  In
fact, I have an automated process that does this in the wee hours each
morning.  For each server.  So if I ever need to build a new
production server, or a new staging server, I just create a new
machine based on the most recent image.  Saves loads of work, too.

2) Revision control for configuration files.  I keep all of our
webserver configuration files, along with a common bashrc file for
developers to use, inside our git repository.  Any changes that are
made are made to those files and then pushed to other machines.  Not
only does it keep the configuration standardized across machines, but
it also provides auditing of who changed what and when they changed

As a corollary to 1, I also use EC2 security groups so that only the
production webserver can talk to the production database, the staging
webserver can talk to the staging database, and the dev webserver can
talk to the dev database.  This ENSURES that an engineer can't
accidentally work on production data from the dev machine, for

Just the easy ability to make disk images makes AWS/EC2 a no-brainer
for my company.  It's saved us so much time and hassle with sytems

-- Doug
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