DBA Test/Development Server Best Practices

These are things I learned from a hardware failure of a test server (you might also call it a staging area). So what’s the big deal? Developers should have all their code checked into source control and nothing critical should be on there right?

Sadly no. These are things you should do on your test server to limit your exposure as a DBA.

1. Treat the server as a production server. This includes transaction log backups, backups of user accounts, SSIS, SSRS, SQL Agent jobs, and Windows Tasks.

2. Trust, but verify. Trust the developers to be following best practices, after all your job is to make the company money and so is theirs. Periodically issue correspondence with the developers to verify that nothing is running in a production manner.

3. Get a good snapshot/system image from time to time. If someone or something destroys your server, you have something to fall back upon. This is especially true when developers are creating lots of dependencies in their code to OS level libraries.