During this series of posts about PeopleSoft environments, I've talked about
the general migration path and have mentioned a few other environments. One
common database is the "sandbox."
A sandbox is a "play" area. It's where you can try out functionality or
make some quick changes without damaging the system. Many installations
have at least one and sometimes several sandboxes.
Having a sandbox environment can prevent many problems and lead to a few.
Like anything else, it needs to be managed properly.
The main benefit of having a designated sandbox is that it helps to keep
risky changes and tests away from the main string
of environments. Without a sandbox, I've seen some pretty scary situations.
Some people think that the DMO environment is a "delivered sandbox." This
is not true. DMO is used only for patches/fixes and for duplicating error
conditions before calling for PeopleSoft support. DMO must be kept current,
and it can't be refreshed from one of your other environments, so keep it
Some people—often testers or functional team members—seem to think
that DEV is a great place to tinker and play. It is not. Others—often
developers—seem to think that the TST (QA) environment is a good one
to treat like a sandbox. Once again, that's a bad idea. I've even seen
the production environment being used for sandbox-type activities!
OK, so we need a separate sandbox. But be careful. There can also be the reverse
problem—a tendency to do so much experimentation in the sandbox that
it becomes another development environment. (Even if the "final" customization
is migrated back to DEV first, you will have issues of synchronization between
the sandbox and DEV.) Also, if you have restrictions
on who can see production data, the sandbox's data will need to be "scrambled."
That means that it may not be possible to duplicate certain data conditions
there. If the sandbox is also used for training, there may be turf wars over who
owns it and who is allowed to do what, when. And if you have many people
using the sandbox, it can become unstable over time and require refreshing.
Having a sandbox is a great idea. But be sure that everyone on the team knows
what it's for.