2.12. Test Configurations and Environments

This section of the test plan is where I document which hardware, software, networks, and lab space I will use to perform the testing. For these various test systems, I'll describe whatever important configuration details bear mentioning as well. For a PC application or utility, this task can be as simple as listing the half-dozen or so test PCs, the two or three test networks (assuming that networking is even an issue), and the printers, modems, terminal adapters, and other accessories you might require from time to time. For commercial software or hardware, I find it useful to have competitors' systems available in my test lab as reference platforms. For example, when testing an Internet appliance (which provided Web and email features only), we had PCs configured with the various browsers and email clients so we could answer the question, "What happens when we run the same test using X (browser or email client)?" when confronted by potentially buggy behavior on the appliance.

Suppose, however, that you are testing a system with significant custom hardware elements (such as a new laptop or a server), one with many hardware elements (such as a network operating system or a network application), or one with expensive hardware elements (such as a mainframe, a high-availability server, or a server cluster). In these complex cases, using a simple table or a spreadsheet might not be sufficient. In Chapter 6, "Tips and Tools for Crunch Time: ...

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