What to include in an Exchange lab to test patches

A test lab isn’t any good unless you know what to include. This checklist gives you the basics any admin should know to set up a test environment.

Patches are an essential part of an Exchange admin’s job because they protect Exchange Server environments from ever-changing security vulnerabilities and threats. But before applying patches and putting them into production, test them for any potential problems.

One of the best ways to test patches for problems is to create an Exchange lab and apply them there. These labs allow admins to apply and observe the patches in an environment similar to the production environment — complete with the same configuration and add-ons — but on a smaller scale. If a problem appears in the lab environment, admins can fix it and avoid a major incident in their full Exchange environment.

But unless you cover the right areas, a test lab will be little more than a chance to practice the install and will be useless when it comes to avoiding real issues. You must know what to check.

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