I have found that is very important that you establish testing environments SLA’s. As most people who are in the software testing profession understand, it is critical that you have as much testing time available as possible which means the test environments have to have the corresponding code and data. Code installation and test data are critical components that are must haves and it takes time to get those things into place. I have recently established Testing Environment SLA’s at 97% availability. I have had the team begin to track outages as defects and asked them to track our outages by environments, applications and minutes. This will allow slicing of the data and provide this information on a regular basis.
Here is a sample outage chart that the team is working on building:
I currently have a few resources on my team who are dedicated to configuration management and environment management. It is ideal if you can get some resources on your team who can help with code installation, data migration, and troubleshooting when there is a problem. For other things such as DBA and infrastructure support I am still leveraging those teams to help me with that effort. I am working with those shared services teams to put an SLA in place so I can get support when it is needed.