What is the production environment?
The production environment is used to operate the software and applications in the specific application or business area of a customer or user. If possible, it corresponds technically and functionally to the staging environment.
In the production environment, the software is ultimately operated to serve the specific business purpose of the customer or IT user.
The production environment is one of the most important environments in software development and is also known as the operating environment. It represents the environment in which applications and software are operated that serve the specific business purpose of the customer or IT user.
In development, this means that software or a program is tested and used in the productive environment within the scope of the intended purpose. In general, the use of the software in the productive environment is characterized by a continuous and constant review of all relevant functionalities.
Measures such as monitoring, logging or auditing are used for this purpose. Ideally, in software development, the staging environment and the production environment are each a copy of the other environment. Ideally, these environments correspond to one another technically and functionally, even if this is rarely the case 1: 1 in practice.
Properties and components of the productive environment
The operating environment consists of the existing IT infrastructure of the customer or end user. This includes the software used by the end user (e.g. the operating system) and the hardware. The application or software to be tested should run on exactly this infrastructure. The real data used also belong to the productive environment. This includes, for example, the databases , documents and the like.
Even if an identical copy of the staging environment is not possible, at least the essential hardware and software components should be as similar as possible. This applies in particular to the components used in staging and production environments. In this way, it can be ruled out that there are compatibility problems or conflicts.
In the area of the operating environment, developers generally no longer make changes. The working copy of the source code is already on the live server. After a previous extensive test and numerous testing and improvement measures in the different environments, the source code could finally be published.
Importance of the production environment in software development
Software and application development knows numerous development steps on the way to the finished end product, i.e. the executable and operational application on the user’s infrastructure. At least are the development environment ( Development Environment), the staging environment and the production environment presented here are relevant. Depending on the type and scope of the development project, these environments can be supplemented in a test environment and a quality assurance environment.
Before an application enters the productive environment, it usually has at least passed Development and the Staging Environment. The development environment is used for the initial development and thus the implementation of the software requirements. The development environment is thus a working version of the software or application. As such, the development environment is either on a local computer or on a secure server.
The development environment serves as a platform for application or software developers to develop or change features of the product. A characteristic of this environment is the ability to influence the source code . It is characterized by the use of numerous testing tools, debugging tools and compilers .
The development environment also grants developers access to some of the data that is ultimately to be worked with. In this way, you can design the functions and properties necessary to work with this data. In the case of several developers involved, versioning software systems are often used in the development environment. Changes by different parties remain synchronous and transparent.
The build environment is then used to compile the source code. Automated software tests are carried out in the test environment . In the staging environment, the applications used are finally tested under conditions that are as realistic as possible. It relies on components and infrastructure comparable to those of the release version. This is associated with a certain amount of resources. The infrastructure, especially the hardware, the staging environment should largely correspond to the productive environment.
Own environment for quality assurance
The development process is supplemented by quality assurance. The quality assurance environment is used by testers to identify and avoid possible errors in good time. This environment is to be regarded as optional. Their significance grows with the type and scope of the development project. Bugs or other inconsistencies in the code should be discovered in good time. This prevents errors from continuing and affecting other environments.
If quality assurance is used, the development, production and quality assurance environment are strictly separated from one another. In this context, there is also talk of a sandbox. Data and work in development and testing shouldn’t get in each other’s way.
Since the production environment is used to use the program in the customer’s immediate intended area of use, the productive and quality assurance environments should also be largely identical. In this way, errors and bugs can be identified in time in quality assurance and thus prevented from affecting the productive environment.