In Part 1, Part 2Part 3, and Part 4 of this series, I showed that sharing Azure can create copies of existing environments, and create a copy for use to use for development or testing. In this blog post, I will show how leading edge companies are using this functionality to quickly test environment changes.

Most of the time, environment changes are – rightfully so – tested in a pre-production environment before going into production. But the quality of the pre-production environment is critical to the success of this test. If your test environment isn’t set up just like production, including all of productions rich data and the complexities of multi-server configurations, your test often is not accurate. This often leads of testing a patch or update that works great in development, but fails miserable in production. The old adage “it worked in dev” sounds great, but doesn’t save deployment night or Monday morning headaches for operations or end users.

A great solution can be found in Azure Site Recovery. By starting up a Failover Test, a complete copy of a protected environment – like Production – can be started in minutes, and used to test many kinds of changes very effectively.

I have seen clients who would struggle time and time again with SharePoint deployments. As hard as they tried, the could not get the richness and complexity of production mimicked in a pre-production environment. This lead to a huge amount of waste trying to duplicate production on their own, and additional waste with complex back0-out processes constantly being run after failed deployments. When they switched over to Azure environments, they were able to fully test before going to production, which gave them a huge increase in production quality. This transformed infrastructure testing, and put those deployments in line with quality dev and test deployments.