Note that we *are* a software vendor, but this is what we encourage our *customers* to do:

In our Wintouch (tm) CRM product, we encourage our customers to set up a test environment of the product, preferably coupled to a test environment of whatever native ERP, shipping, or other system that Wintouch interfaces with, so that whenever a change is made to the data structures, interface code, or both, it can be validated with meaningless data before it's put into service. Usually, this is just a separate set of libraries, but occasionally it's a separate box or LPAR (and from the point of view of anybody not physically in the same room as the box[es], there isn't a whole lot of difference between the latter two).

Incidentally, we ourselves have three development-only boxes (two of which were former production boxes, and one of which is physically isolated from all outside connections other than Twinax terminals), and one production box (on which we also do what little development can't be done with V4 tools).


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