Definition “Staging environment” What is a staging environment?
The Staging Environment is a server environment for testing applications and websites under approximately realistic conditions. Similar components are used as in the release version.
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The staging environment ideally reproduces the production environment almost in detail.
Staging describes a step in the workflow in most development projects. The staging environment is a server environment that enables comprehensive testing of web pages or applications under almost real-world conditions.
The staging environment relies on a similar hardware as the production variant on which the release version is based. Staging is a process where the database is already partially accessed. Authorized users have access to the staging environment and are assigned the task of checking the functionality.
Ultimately, the staging environment serves as a simulation of the ultimately published system. The environment thus provides information on how the system behaves when it is tested independently of the development environment.
Staging at a glance
Staging can be understood as a part or step of the workflow. It belongs to the deployment process as a component. This includes the commissioning and distribution of applications taking into account the infrastructure. In principle, a distinction can be made between different development steps, each of which includes certain systems and environments.
Each development step usually includes its own server environment, in many cases this is a virtual server for economic reasons. A physical server is not a mandatory requirement for the implementation of the development steps. For staging purposes, virtual servers are used, which are hosted on the same server that also provides the website.
However, the staging environment is shielded via a sandbox strategy. In principle, the development system and the production system are clearly separated from each other in the development process. In this way, possible errors or conflicts, such as those that may occur in the context of database migration, can be avoided.
Importance of the staging environment in the development process
In software and web development, several development steps can be distinguished. These are associated with certain environments or environments. Basically, a distinction must be made between development, staging and production. These environments may be supplemented by a testing environment and a quality assurance environment.
In addition to the staging environment, the process is characterized by a number of other environments in development. This includes the development environment in which the requirements of the software are implemented. The environment, also known as the development environment, represents a working version of the application or software and is located either on a local computer or on a secure server.
Software and application developers can make changes to the source code in this environment and thus develop or modify features. In this environment, numerous debugging and testing tools and compilers are used. Developers also have access to a portion of the database so they can review and implement certain features. If several developers are involved, version control systems are also used so that changes made by different developers can be synchronized.
Another component is the build environment, in which the source code is compiled centrally (but not executed). The test environment is used for the automated execution of the software test. Another important environment is the productive environment in which the program is used in connection with the intended application purpose of the customer. This leads to a constant review of the program functions via measures such as monitoring, logging and auditing.
The staging environment should generally map the production environment. Ideally, it is a copy of the environments. In practice, this is not always feasible, but both environments benefit if the components (hardware and software) are as similar as possible. This helps to avoid conflicts in working with these environments. In general, no changes are made by developers at the location of the production environment. Source codes are already ready for publication at this point, as it has already undergone a test in different environments.
The development process is complemented by the quality assurance environment (QA), in which testers search for errors or perform additional tests. The quality assurance environment should also be as similar as possible to the production environment. This environment is also known as QA (Quality and Assurance). It is optional and serves to identify errors or bugs in the code. This is to prevent this step from affecting the development environment.
Development and quality assurance are strictly separated from each other so that development and testing do not get in the way. If a developer were testing a new feature while someone else was making changes, the system would no longer be functional. In some cases, entire groups of users are used for quality assurance, similar to a beta test.
Staging environment in programming and development
Staging environments are characterized by a fairly high demand for resources. Since the hardware and infrastructure of the production environment must be as similar as possible, corresponding purchases are required. The system also requires careful configuration and the necessary data must be set up.
These are just some of the requirements that must be met for the staging environment to simulate the production environment under the required real-world conditions. Staging environments therefore typically take place in larger companies and projects.