Deciding what to test

You cannot test everything that Windows 2003 offers, so you must decide what is important to test for the environment that you are planning to convert or integrate. Testing things that Microsoft and thousands of other beta testers have already tested does not make sense, unless you are on the beta program or are learning about something specific.

One of the prime objectives of the corporate lab is to test how well Windows Server 2003 behaves in a production NT environment or how Windows 2000 behaves on a Windows 2003 domain.

You have two key segments to evaluate: applications and processes and domain-wide integration. Applications testing is usually focused on the server; you need to test how a particular application functions in the Windows Server 2003 environment. One of the things that we tested, for example, was an AS400-based process that needs to open an FTP session to the server and copy and retrieve files from it several times a day. We also test-ran batch files by using the AT command-line utility to run a process that performs unattended transfers of data to another network.

We also used our lab to test automated and unattended installations, especially on test Windows NT servers, to see how they would fare after upgrading them.

Domain-wide integration testing concerns how the new server, or domain controller, behaves on the network. We tested how NT and other legacy systems fared resolving to the new DNS, for example, and whether any problems arose in resolving NetBIOS names with the new WINS and whether the DHCP clients could obtain IP address leases.

We also tested Windows 9x clients logging into network shares and how NTFS 4.0 systems and NTFS 5.0 systems co-exist.

Note Whenever we tested various flavors of Unix with Windows 2003, we got mixed results. If we removed permissions from a file, for example, Corel Linux reported that a file it was trying to access was "corrupted." Another version of Unix reported that the file no longer existed. These are not ideal messages to send to sensitive users. Unix is like a box of chocolates . . .

Table 5-4 provides a collection of test projects to get you started.

Table 5-4: Typical Test Projects

Aspect

Components

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