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Server Cloning and Application Environment Cloning - Checklist and Template

Summary

Three very comprehensive, generic checklist-templates assists you in creating a customized, application specific cloning checklist.
This significantly
  • reduces the time to create such a checklist
  • reduces the risks of running into (forgetting about) typical traps
Filling in a copy of this checklist during each cloning process and keeping this copy improves your operational documentation.

Background

Cloning of an Application Environment is a common practice to
  • provide a copy for testing purpose to the testing team
  • migrate from an old server to a new server
  • create additional instances on additional servers for purpose of scalability
Although the general idea is very simple just copy - the (even dangerous) traps are less known.

Why you should have for each application a cloning checklist

For sure you and your company don't want to get broad coverage on TV because of something like that...
  • Application Support Team requests a full copy of production system for some tests.
  • DBA's and UNIX-administrators copy database- and application files and get the copy up and running.
  • Application Team runs a test.
  • A few days later thousands of customers complain that their monthly payment has been withdrawn twice.
The mistake was simple the clone's output interface defined somewhere in a configuration file or database table was not changed after copying the production system and this testing environment still pointed to the production environment of an interfacing application.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: The application vendor provided a documented how to clone the application. Do I need this checklist too?

Answer: In this case your vendor's checklist has of course higher relevance. But it might be still interesting for you to purchase this checklist to check the other checklist for completeness.

Question: My staff knows how to clone the application, why should I purchase this template?

Contra-Question: Is this process clearly documented?.
If not, then someone needs to document this process.
And this template will for sure save significant time to establish this documentation.
Using this template the documentatio of this process might consume even less time then the discussion of questions like "What should we document?", "How do you want the documentation?".

Question: I want to write a script to automate refreshing the clone. What benefit I gain from those Templates?

Answer: This template helps you to identify all required steps your script needs to contain.