“Does QA Match Production?”

File this question under, “I wish I had a nickel.” Anytime a deployment fails or some bug surfaces in production, people will naturally ask why the issue wasn’t discovered during testing. It is an important question to ask and answer. Nine times out of ten, the immediate corollary question will be, “Are there any differences in configuration between QA and production?”

This question is what I call a “gimme.” It is easy to ask, very expensive to answer, and guaranteed to find something different such as hostnames and IP addresses, if nothing else. You might be thinking, “Why should that be expensive to answer? Isn’t that what configuration management systems are all about?” Yes and no. Configuration management systems ...

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